Are Early Signs Of Dementia Obvious
Changes in a person in the early stages of dementia can be so gradual they can often be mistaken for normal ageing. Because dementia affects people in different ways, symptoms may not always be obvious. In fact, failure to recognise early signs often leads to people not being diagnosed for several years.
So what to look for? Perhaps someone you care for is struggling to remember what they did yesterday and forgets the names of friends or everyday objects. They may have difficulty following conversations or TV programmes, repeat things over and over, or have problems thinking or reasoning. They may feel angry, anxious or depressed about memory loss or feel confused even in a familiar environment.
The healthtalk website presents a range of carers experiences of identifying the early signs of dementia. One carer put it this way.
The first stage is not recognisable I think, or certainly wasnt recognisable as far as I was concerned initially . I was certainly not understanding… the fact that my wife was at the beginning of a serious problem, a serious mental health problem. Because I was with my wife continuously, I think I was less likely to recognise some of the changes that were taking place than people who saw her less regularly.
Do Try And Identify The Trigger That Causes Behavior Change
After spending some time with a patient who has dementia, caregivers may be in a position to identify some of the things that make dementia sufferers yell, get physical, or change their mood. For some, it may be something simple such as taking a bath or even getting dressed.
The best approach to handle this is not to force the patient to do something that they do not want to do. Try and distract them with something else that allows them to relax and calm down. Once they are not a danger to themselves or anyone around them, try going back to the subject, but this time reassuringly and calmly.
Make Everyday Tasks Easier
This “memory bench” is used by a person living with dementia to organize the things she needs for each day.
Many people with early-stage dementia continue to manage their everyday activities. But its important to look ahead to a time when performing daily tasks will be harder. The sooner you adopt new strategies to help you cope with changes, the more time you will have to adjust to them. Here are some tips:
For more suggestions on living independently, see Aging in Place: Growing Older at Home.
Also Check: What Color Ribbon Is Alzheimer’s
Early Warning Signs Of Dementia Every Man Should Know
As an older adult, or the loved one of an older adult, it is important to know certain signs and red flags concerning prevalent diseases. For many seniors, dementia is a great concern. Studies show that it is a valid source of anxiety among seniors over the age of 65. According to an Alzheimers Association study, 1 in 9 seniors over the age of 65 have Alzheimers Disease the number only increases when other types of dementia are included.
Since knowledge is power, and since early intervention can often lead to treatment that increases the quality of life, the more you know about dementia, the better. Specifically, the more you know about dementia in men, the more you can watch for warning signs showing in the older man in your life.
Aggressive Behaviour In Dementia
In the later stages of dementia, some people with dementia will develop what’s known as behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia .
The symptoms of BPSD can include:
- increased agitation
These types of behaviours are very distressing for the carer and for the person with dementia.
It’s very important to ask your doctor to rule out or treat any underlying causes, such as:
- uncontrolled pain
- infection, such as a urinary tract infection
- side effects of medicines
If the person you’re caring for behaves in an aggressive way, try to stay calm and avoid confrontation. You may have to leave the room for a while.
If none of the coping strategies works, an antipsychotic medicine can be prescribed as a short-term treatment. This should be prescribed by a consultant psychiatrist.
Don’t Miss: What Is The Difference Between Dementia And Senility
You No Longer Grasp Concepts You Once Did
Problems with tasks that require abstract thinking, such as understanding numbers or reading a house planespecially if that was a strength beforeare an early symptom that can be caused by damage in the frontal and parietal lobes. For Chow, this appeared early at work in his inability to make simple calculations, but it also impeded his long-held role as the manager of his familys finances. After his diagnosis, Eva took over those duties.
Be Ready To Retreat And Regroup
Despite your best efforts and intentions, when you sit down with your parents to talk about what youve been noticing, they might not not want to talk about it the first time you try to bring it up. They may respond with denial or even hostility. In those cases, stay calm and remember that you get more than one shot at this conversation. They may get angry, upset, defensive, or simply refuse to talk about it, Drew said. Unless its a crisis situation, dont force the conversation. Take a step back, regroup on the approach and revisit the subject in a week or two.
Recommended Reading: What Color Ribbon For Dementia
Ask Very Simple Questions
Any questions you ask should be easy to understand and answer. Instead of saying, Hi Richard, We were wondering if you might want to take a walk before going to eat your lunch this afternoon? try Richard, can we go for a walk? or Richard, its time to eat. Always address them with their name and allow them a moment to process and react or answer the question. You dont want to overwhelm them with long-winded questions or by asking too many at once.
A great way to continue to promote independence and self-autonomy even as dementia progresses is to offer simple choices. For example, Julio, would you prefer to wear your green shirt or blue shirt today? When you give simple choices, you offer a supportive environment that allows your loved ones with dementia to still have some control over their life.
Early Signs Of Dementia And How To Spot Them
Spotting the early signs of Dementia can make all the difference to the progression of the disease. If it is diagnosed during the early stages there is a chance that medication will slow down the diseases that cause the damage to the brain.
Weve put together this guide to the early signs of dementia for you to look out for, and some specific symptoms you can monitor. Please use the links below to navigate the article:
Read Also: Did Reagan Have Alzheimer’s In Office
Prepare For The Future
Discuss decisions about health and finances as soon as possible to ensure you have a say and are prepared for the future.
Preparing for the future may be the last thing you want to think about. But it will be easier to think about health and finances now rather than later to make sure you have a say in future decisions.
What Are The Early Signs Of Dementia
Symptoms of dementia are caused by changes in the brain changes that can begin years before early dementia signs present themselves. There are three general stages for Alzheimer’s mild , moderate , and severe . The speed at which a patient moves through these stages varies, but progression of the symptoms themselves follows a fairly standardized path.
The most common early dementia symptoms are forgetfulness and short-term memory loss. Patients may forget where they left something or have trouble recalling the details of a conversation, but long-term memory and the remembering of important dates or events is typically unaffected in early stages of dementia.
As the symptoms of Alzheimer’s progress, patients become increasingly confused about simple facts such as time or place and may have difficulty concentrating they can still complete regular tasks, but concentrating may take longer than usual.
Over time, symptoms of dementia may include frequently misplacing objects and an increased difficulty completing daily tasks. Patients are more likely to lose things and may have trouble retracing their steps to find them. This sometimes progresses to feelings of paranoia or accusations of theft when the patient cannot find something they unknowingly misplaced. Patients may also start to have trouble with daily tasks such as driving, cooking, or engaging in hobbies. Changes in vision and depth perception may also lead to increased clumsiness, falls, and other accidents.
You May Like: Color For Alzheimers
Lead With Dignity And Respect
Dementia isnt like other diseases. Its impact can be as dramatic and devastating as cancer but because it involves cognitive decline, it takes away something people have long taken for granted: the ability to make choices and have control. What makes the disease really unique from all other diseases is it requires someone else to help you self-determine your own life, Karlawish said.
When adult children face parents with possible dementia symptoms, Karlawish said they need to recognize the fundamental ethical matter at stake. Youre in a negotiation with someone else about how theyre going to exercise their self determination, their identity and their privacy, Karlawish said. And I think most of us, when you frame it that way, would say we better be pretty, pretty dignified about it and pretty respectful about it.
Who Can Diagnose Dementia
Visiting a primary care doctor is often the first step for people who are experiencing changes in thinking, movement, or behavior. However, neurologists doctors who specialize in disorders of the brain and nervous system are often consulted to diagnose dementia. Geriatric psychiatrists, neuropsychologists, and geriatricians may also be able to diagnose dementia. Your doctor can help you find a specialist.
If a specialist cannot be found in your community, contact the nearest medical school neurology department for a referral. A medical school hospital also may have a dementia clinic that provides expert evaluation. You can also visit the Alzheimers Disease Research Centers directory to see if there is an NIA-funded center near you. These centers can help with obtaining a diagnosis and medical management of conditions.
Recommended Reading: What Color Ribbon Is Alzheimer’s
Stage : Moderate Dementia
Patients in stage 5 need some assistance in order to carry out their daily lives. The main sign for stage 5 dementia is the inability to remember major details such as the name of a close family member or a home address. Patients may become disoriented about the time and place, have trouble making decisions, and forget basic information about themselves, such as a telephone number or address.
While moderate dementia can interfere with basic functioning, patients at this stage do not need assistance with basic functions such as using the bathroom or eating. Patients also still have the ability to remember their own names and generally the names of spouses and children.
Conditions With Symptoms Similar To Dementia
Remember that many conditions have symptoms similar to dementia, so it is important not to assume that someone has dementia just because some of the above symptoms are present. Strokes, depression, excessive long-term alcohol consumption, infections, hormonal disorders, nutritional deficiencies and brain tumours can all cause dementia-like symptoms. Many of these conditions can be treated.
Don’t Miss: Alzheimer’s Color Ribbon
Becoming Confused In Familiar Surroundings
This is different to: getting confused about the day of the week but working it out later.
Your parent may forget where they are and how they got there. Along with losing track of dates, seasons and the time this is one of the most tell-tale signs of early onset dementia.
They may also struggle to understand something if its not happening immediately. This is because the mind of someone with dementia is mostly situated in the present and they find it difficult to comprehend the passage of time.
For example, your mum may tell you shes missed you because she thinks she hasnt seen you in a long time, but in reality you visited her last week. Another example includes time passing very slowly in a general sense: ten minutes might seem like an hour, an hour might seem like a day and so on.
What To Know About Dementia
Here’s what you should know about about dementia signs, symptoms, causes, and coping:
- Dementia is a catchall term to describe the symptoms of the group of brain disorders associated with cognitive decline.
- Types of dementia include Alzheimers, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, and frontotemporal dementia.
- Early signs of dementia include trouble remembering newly-learned information, misplacing items, trouble reasoning, and poor judgment.
- Conditions linked to dementia include traumatic brain injury, Parkinsons disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and Huntington’s disease.
- Development of dementia symptoms increases with age, but people of all ages can experience them, depending on the cause.
- Some conditions associated with dementia-like symptoms are treatable or reversible, such as brain tumors, nutritional deficiencies, thyroid problems, and immune disorders.
- Diet and exercise, managing cardiovascular health, and refraining from drinking and smoking, are some steps people can take to maintain their cognitive health.
Recommended Reading: Dementia Ribbon Colors
Can Dementia Be Prevented
Although dementia cannot be prevented, living a health-focused life might influence risk factors for certain types of dementia. Keeping blood vessels clear of cholesterol buildup, maintaining normal blood pressure, controlling blood sugar, staying at a healthy weight basically, staying as healthy as one can can keep the brain fueled with the oxygen and nutrients it needs to function at its highest possible level. Specific healthful steps you can take include:
- Follow a Mediterranean diet, which is one filled with whole grains, vegetables, fruits, fish and shellfish, nuts, beans, olive oil and only limited amounts of red meats.
- Exercise. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
- Keep your brain engaged. Solve puzzles, play word games, and try other mentally stimulating activities. These activities may delay the start of dementia.
- Stay socially active. Interact with people discuss current events keep your mind, heart, and soul engaged.
Being Confused About Time Or Place
Dementia can make it hard to judge the passing of time. People may also forget where they are at any time.
They may find it hard to understand events in the future or the past and may struggle with dates.
Visual information can be challenging for a person with dementia. It can be hard to read, to judge distances, or work out the differences between colors.
Someone who usually drives or cycles may start to find these activities challenging.
A person with dementia may find it hard to engage in conversations.
They may forget what they are saying or what somebody else has said. It can be difficult to enter a conversation.
People may also find their spelling, punctuation, and grammar get worse.
Some peoples handwriting becomes more difficult to read.
A person with dementia may not be able to remember where they leave everyday objects, such as a remote control, important documents, cash, or their keys.
Misplacing possessions can be frustrating and may mean they accuse other people of stealing.
It can be hard for someone with dementia to understand what is fair and reasonable. This may mean they pay too much for things, or become easily sure about buying things they do not need.
Some people with dementia also pay less attention to keeping themselves clean and presentable.
Read Also: Jigsaw Puzzles Alzheimer’s
Help Without Taking Away Their Independence
The early stage of dementia is different for every person who goes through it. However, it is often seen that individuals with dementia need cues and reminders to help jog their memory. Taking care of a husband with dementia means getting involved to ensure they:
- Keep their appointments
- Remember names, places, or people
- Take their medications on time
We suggest that you do that by establishing communication, instead of completely taking over.
Your objective should be to maximize their independence. If, for example, they assure you that they can manage their checkbook, let them do that. Just ask to give a final review once they are done.
Early Symptoms Of Dementia
Although the early signs vary, common early symptoms of dementia include:
- memory problems, particularly remembering recent events
- increasing confusion
- apathy and withdrawal or depression
- loss of ability to do everyday tasks.
Sometimes, people fail to recognise that these symptoms indicate that something is wrong. They may mistakenly assume that such behaviour is a normal part of the ageing process. Symptoms may also develop gradually and go unnoticed for a long time. Also, some people may refuse to act, even when they know something is wrong.
Don’t Miss: Are Jigsaw Puzzles Good For Dementia
Frequently Asked Questions About Dementia