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.
The Seven Stages Of Dementia
One of the most difficult things to hear about dementia is that, in most cases, dementia is irreversible and incurable. However, with an early diagnosis and proper care, the progression of some forms of dementia can be managed and slowed down. The cognitive decline that accompanies dementia conditions does not happen all at once – the progression of dementia can be divided into seven distinct, identifiable stages.
Learning about the stages of dementia can help with identifying signs and symptoms early on, as well as assisting sufferers and caretakers in knowing what to expect in further stages. The earlier dementia is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can start.
About Early Onset Dementia
There is a wider range of diseases that cause early-onset dementia and a younger person is much more likely to have a rarer form of dementia. Alzheimers disease is the most common form of early onset dementia. Other forms are vascular dementia, frontal-temporal dementia, Lewy bodies dementia and Korsakoffs syndrome, which is alcohol related dementia.
People with other conditions, such as Parkinsons disease, multiple sclerosis, Huntingtons disease or HIV and AIDS, may also develop early onset dementia as part of their illness. Also, people with Downs syndrome and other learning disabilities can develop dementia at an early age.
Younger people with dementia experience a range of challenges, which are often different to those that older people face. Younger people are less likely to experience memory loss as one of their early symptoms and may experience changes in behaviour, vision or language first.
There are many things you can do day to day to help you live as well as possible. to read more about practical steps you can take each day. Its important to continue doing things you enjoy. Try to keep things as normal as possible, making changes when you need to. It can help to make the most of every day.
First Steps its good to talk about Dementia
Don’t Miss: Terry Semel Alzheimer’s
How Do People Know They Have It
The first sign of Alzheimer disease is an ongoing pattern of forgetting things. This starts to affect a person’s daily life. He or she may forget where the grocery store is or the names of family and friends. This stage may last for some time or get worse quickly, causing more severe memory loss and forgetfulness.
What Diagnosis Falls Under Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimers disease is a diagnosis in itself. When it is noticeable clinically and identified early on, the formal diagnosis may be Mild Cognitive Impairment due to Alzheimers disease which may later develop into a diagnosis of dementia due to Alzheimers disease.
You May Like: Does Bob Knight Have Dementia
Also Check: What Color Ribbon Is Alzheimer’s
Stage : Mild Dementia
At this stage, individuals may start to become socially withdrawn and show changes in personality and mood. Denial of symptoms as a defense mechanism is commonly seen in stage 4. Behaviors to look for include:
- Difficulty remembering things about one’s personal history
- Difficulty recognizing faces and people
In stage 4 dementia, individuals have no trouble recognizing familiar faces or traveling to familiar locations. However, patients in this stage will often avoid challenging situations in order to hide symptoms or prevent stress or anxiety.
You’ve Been Getting Easily Confused
Another typical sign of dementia, that may seem a bit bizarre, is forgetting what to do with everyday objects. According to Jessica Zwerling, MD, MS, director of the Memory Disorders Center at the Montefiore Health System, you might momentarily forget where to put your groceries, for example, or how to use your phone.
It can be a scary experience, and is definitely something you’ll want to point out to a doctor. And the same is true if you experience other forms of forgetfulness, such as suddenly needing to follow a recipe for dishes you make all the time. It’s this inability to remember simple, everyday things that can be cause for concern.
Recommended Reading: Are Jigsaw Puzzles Good For Dementia
Risk Factors And Prevention
Although age is the strongest known risk factor for dementia, it is not an inevitable consequence of ageing. Further, dementia does not exclusively affect older people young onset dementia accounts for up to 9% of cases. Studies show that people can reduce their risk of dementia by getting regular exercise, not smoking, avoiding harmful use of alcohol, controlling their weight, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Additional risk factors include depression, low educational attainment, social isolation, and cognitive inactivity.
What Causes Alzheimer Disease
Lots of research is being done to find out more about the causes of Alzheimer disease. There is no one reason why people get it. Older people are more likely to get it, and the risk increases the older the person gets. In other words, an 85-year-old is more likely to get it than a 65-year-old. And women are more likely to get it than men.
Researchers also think genes handed down from family members can make a person more likely to get Alzheimer disease. But that doesn’t mean everyone related to someone who has it will get the disease. Other things may make it more likely that someone will get the disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Down syndrome, or having a head injury.
On the positive side, researchers believe exercise, a healthy diet, and taking steps to keep your mind active may help delay the start of Alzheimer disease.
You May Like: What Shampoos Cause Alzheimer’s Disease And Cancer
Planning For The Future
Planning early makes it easier for someone with younger onset dementia to manage their financial, legal and medical affairs now and in the future.
If you have been diagnosed with younger onset dementia, it is important to make important decisions while you still can and while you are legally competent to sign any documents.
Things to think about include:
- your living arrangements into the future
- who can have access to your financial accounts
- having joint signatures on all financial accounts
- arranging when and how you will access your finances
- talking to a financial adviser
- sorting out superannuation, health and income insurance
- writing or updating your will
If you have been diagnosed with dementia, its important to nominate a trusted person to manage your affairs in the future. You can do this through an Enduring Power of Attorney .
A financial EPA enables a nominated person to look after your financial affairs if you become unable to do so. A medical EPA covers only medical decisions. The laws regarding EPAs vary between states and territories, so it’s important to seek legal advice before the agreement is completed, or if you are moving interstate.
Some states also have medical guardianship . This allows someone to choose a person to make medical decisions for them. For more information on guardianship and administrators, visit the My Aged Care website.
Getting An Accurate Diagnosis
â with young onset is that dementia is not something that they think about initially. If youâre a woman, the first thing they think about is menopause and depression and anxiety and panic and sleep disorders and all those kinds of things.â â Faye, from Windsor Junction, Nova Scotia. Faye lives with young onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Diagnosing dementia can be a long and complicated process. For younger people, itâs even more complicated and frustrating. Healthcare providers are often reluctant to diagnose dementia in someone so young, and itâs common for a person who has young onset dementia to be misdiagnosed with another condition, such as depression.
As a a result, the person living with young onset dementia may not get the appropriate knowledge, treatment and support to fight the disease.
Also Check: What Color Ribbon Is Alzheimer’s
The Impact Of Dementia For Younger People And Their Families
- Although younger people experience similar symptoms to older people with dementia, the impact on their lives is much greater. Younger people are more likely to still be working when they are diagnosed. Many will have significant financial commitments such as a mortgage. They often have children to care for and dependent parents too.
- Their lives tend to be more active and they have hopes, dreams and ambitions to fulfil up to and beyond their retirement.
Dementia is a collection of symptoms that can occur due to a variety of possible diseases. Dementia symptoms include impairments in thought, communication, and memory.
If you or your loved one is experiencing memory problems, dont immediately conclude that its dementia. A person needs to have at least two types of impairment that significantly interfere with everyday life to receive a dementia diagnosis.
In addition to difficulty remembering, the person may also experience impairments in:
Knowing The Stages Of Dementia Helps You Plan
Even if the stages arent exact and symptoms can still be unpredictable, being able to plan ahead is essential.
The truth is that Alzheimers and dementia care is expensive and time-consuming. Being financially prepared for increasing care needs is a necessity.
On an emotional level, having an idea of what symptoms to expect helps you find ways to cope with challenging behaviors.
It also gives you a chance to mentally prepare yourself for the inevitable changes in your older adult.
Also Check: Smelling Farts Prevent Cancer
What Is Alzheimer Disease
Alzheimer disease, which affects some older people, is different from everyday forgetting. It is a condition that permanently affects the brain. Over time, the disease makes it harder to remember even basic stuff, like how to tie a shoe.
Eventually, the person may have trouble remembering the names and faces of family members or even who he or she is. This can be very sad for the person and his or her family.
It’s important to know that Alzheimer disease does not affect kids. It usually affects people over 65 years of age. Researchers have found medicines that seem to slow the disease down. And there’s hope that someday there will be a cure.
How Does Peanut Butter Detect Alzheimers
The researchers discovered that those who had an impaired sense of smell in the left nostril had early-stage Alzheimers. They noted that the participants needed to be an average of 10 centimeters closer to the peanut butter container in order to smell it from their left nostril compared to their right nostril.
Can Dementia Be Inappropriately Diagnosed In A Single Visit
Sadly, yes. Although its common for doctors to never diagnose dementia at all in people who have it, I have also come across several instances of busy doctors rattling off a dementia diagnosis, without adequately documenting how they reached this conclusion.
Now, often these doctors are right. Dementia becomes common as people age, so if a family complains of memory problems and paranoia in an 89 year old, chances are quite high that the older person has dementia.
But sometimes its not. Sometimes its slowly resolving delirium along with a brain-clouding medication. Sometimes its depression.
It is a major thing to diagnose someone with dementia. So although its not possible for an average doctor to evaluate with as much detail as the memory clinic does, its important to document consideration of the five essential features as listed above.
Difficulty Finding The Right Words
Another early symptom of dementia is struggling to communicate thoughts. A person with dementia may have difficulty explaining something or finding the right words to express themselves. Having a conversation with a person who has dementia can be difficult, and it may take longer than usual to conclude.
Don’t Miss: What Color Ribbon Is Alzheimer’s
The Stigma Of Young Onset Dementia
Because dementia is so strongly associated with older people, younger people can feel extra stigma and discrimination. A younger person may not be believed when they say they have been diagnosed with dementia. This attitude can add to a persons problems. For example, one woman with dementia reported being laughed at when she told others she had dementia . Another woman with dementia who talks to medical students about her condition as part of their training says, The first barrier you meet is that people dont believe that you can have dementia if you can still function. To others, these women seemed too young and too well to have dementia, and so they did not get the courtesy and respect they deserved. Later, a younger person may feel and look out of place in a care home where most other people are in their 80s and 90s.
Terry Pratchett talks about the stigma of a dementia diagnosis in a video from the Alzheimers Society.
Who Is This Dementia Quiz For
Below is a list of 10 questions designed for people who are concerned about memory loss. The questions relate to life experiences common among people who have been diagnosed with dementia, a neurocognitive disorder, and are based on criteria in the DSM-5 .
Please read each question carefully, and indicate how often you have experienced the same or similar challenges in the past few months.
Also Check: What Color Ribbon Is Alzheimer’s
Can You Get Alzheimers Disease When You Are Young
We typically associate Alzheimers disease with an older population since most people who develop this progressive brain disorder are age 65 and older. Currently some 5.5 million Americanstwo-thirds of them womenlive with the disease. But hidden within that estimate, a smaller numberapproximately 200,000 adultsdevelop the condition under the age of 65. When this happens, its called early-onset Alzheimers. There are several forms of dementia and Alzheimers is just one type. While early-onset Alzheimers is somewhat uncommon, it still happens, says Dr. Nimi Patel, neurologist.
How Does Young Onset Dementia Develop
The early symptoms of young onset dementia may not be memory loss. Symptoms can differ from one person to another depending on the type of dementia a person has, and which parts of the brain it affects.
Dementias affecting the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain are more common in younger people so it is more likely that the early symptoms may include changes in:
- vision and spatial awareness
In addition, the person may not recognise the changes or may be reluctant to accept there is anything wrong when they are otherwise fit and well, and so put off visiting their doctor.
Read Also: Does Smelling Farts Help Prevent Dementia
The Importance Of Language
- The language used to talk about younger people with dementia can strongly influence how others treat or view them, and how they feel about themselves.
- For example, referring to people with dementia as sufferers or as victims implies that they are helpless. This not only strips people of their dignity and self-esteem, it reinforces inaccurate stereotypes and heightens the fear and stigma surrounding dementia.
- Young onset dementia is not necessarily the defining aspect of someones identity. They are a person first and should always be described, and treated, as such. Life does not stop when dementia starts.
- Using the correct terms avoids confusion. There are many forms of dementia. Alzheimers disease is just one of them and the terms are not interchangeable.
- Young onset or working-age dementia are preferable terms to early onset dementia so as to avoid confusion with the early stages of dementia generally.
The Dementia Engagement & Empowerment Project has published a dementia language guide. Dementia words matter: guidelines on language about dementia has been written in collaboration with people who have dementia. To download this useful and informative guide, please click here.
How Long Do Dementia Patients Live After Diagnosis
Dementia symptoms typically progress slowly. People with dementia will progress from mild to severe dementia at varying speeds and may be diagnosed earlier or later in life. Some people with dementia may live for up to 20 years after their diagnosis, though according to the Alzheimer’s Association research shows that the average person lives for four to eight years after a diagnosis of dementia. It’s important to point out that the diagnosis of dementia is often missed, delayed, or diagnosed when the illness is moderate or advanced. The impact of that variable may not be accurately reflected in the research regarding the years of life post-diagnosis.
Recommended Reading: Alzheimer Ribbon Color