Early Signs Of Dementia Checklist
Signs of early onset dementia usually affect people in their 50s and early 60s. But is it really a dementia sign or is it just a something we do as we get older?
|Signs of Dementia/Alzheimers:|
|Making a bad decision once in a while|
|Inability to manage a budget||Missing a monthly payment|
|Losing track of the date or the season||Forgetting what day it is and remembering later|
|Difficulty having a conversation||Sometimes forgetting which word to use|
|Misplacing things and being unable to retrace steps to find them||Losing things from time to time|
As dementia is a progressive neurological disorder, there are many stages and dementia symptoms. The changes are gradual, and this may give your parent time to receive an early diagnosis and to slow down or prevent the disease from progressing.
Fortunately, the first signs of dementia can be spotted before the symptoms make a big impact on day-to-day living and overall quality of life. For more information on the various stages of dementia, download our free and comprehensive dementia guide.
Sometimes dementia diagnosis can be difficult as there is no one simple test to carry out and early symptoms can be similar to the age-related changes listed above. Here are 10 early signs of Dementia to look out for.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dementia Symptoms
My dad seems to be tired all the time lately how do I know the difference between age-related changes and dementia symptoms?
Sleep disruption is common with regards to both age-related sleep patterns and signs of early onset dementia so it can be tricky to work out whats going on. But if you look out for accompanying symptoms specific to dementia you may be able to tell the difference. If you suspect it is more than just sleepiness make an appointment with your parents GP.For more information on how dementia symptoms can affect sleep please read our article on dementia and sleep.
What do I do if I think my mum or dad has dementia?
The GP should be the first point of call if you suspect your parent is suffering from signs of early onset dementia. If the doctor suspects your parent has dementia they will refer them to a memory clinic or specialist. For further details on the process please visit our guide on diagnosing dementia.
How does the dementia diagnosis process work?How are dementia symptoms treated?
Unfortunately, dementia cant be cured but it can be slowed down significantly, especially if diagnosed earlier on. For more details on drugs used, visit our guide on dementia treatment.
Trouble Keeping Track Of And Paying Bills
Every month, you know exactly which bills are due and whenor at least, you used to know. In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, working with numbers becomes difficult, making it hard to ensure payments are going out on time. If you suddenly struggle to remember to pay the same bills you’ve been paying for years, talk to your doctor about the possibility of early onset dementia.
Also Check: Colors For Alzheimer’s Awareness
Statistics Of Dementia In Men
Approximately 14 percent of Americans 71 years and older have some form of dementia, with the prevalence being slightly higher in women. Sixteen percent of women 71 years and older suffer from dementia, compared to only 11 percent of men. These results were found during the Aging, Demographics, and Memory Study .
Researchers and scientist are still unclear why this gender difference exists, but theorize that the longer life expectancies of women may play a factor. Other possible reasons may be hormonal differences between men and women, genetic differences , and even historical differences in education, as in the past, educated women were a rarity and it is known that low education is a risk factor for the development of Alzheimers.
Putting Things In The Wrong Place
This is different to: more normal age-related behaviours such as losing things but being able to retrace the steps to find them.
Losing things or putting things in strange places, and then being unable to retrace steps to find them again, is on the official observation list for early signs of dementia.
Sometimes someone else might be accused of stealing which may occur more frequently over time. For example, your dad may insist that a friend keeps stealing his money, whereas its in its regular hiding place.
Other examples that may indicate potential dementia symptoms could include:
- Teabags in the fridge and leaving the milk out
- Toothbrush in the washing basket
- Remote control in the cutlery drawer
- Dirty laundry in the dishwasher
Misplacing or losing items is more common in Alzheimers Disease, rather than vascular dementia. Find out more about the different types of dementia.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Difference Between Dementia And Senility
Early Signs Of Alzheimers
As families gather for the holidays, concerns about future care needs may become more apparent. The spouse or the adult children are often the first to notice changes in the routines of older family members.
Navigating memory issues can be difficult. Learn what the early warning signs are for Alzheimers and other forms of dementia.
10 Early Signs of Alzheimers or other dementia
1. Memory loss that disrupts daily lifeForgetting recently learned information is one of the most common signs of dementia.
2. Challenges in planning or solving problemsPeople living with dementia may experience changes in how they plan or work with numbers. For example, they may have trouble managing monthly bills.
3. Difficulty completing familiar tasksPeople living with dementia may have trouble completing daily tasks, preparing a familiar recipe or organizing a grocery list.
4. Confusion with time or placeOne early sign is losing track of the season or dates. A person experiencing memory issues may have trouble understanding something not immediately happening.
5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationshipsVision changes can be normal for older adults, as with cataracts or glaucoma. However, if a person also has problems judging distance, identifying color or has other vision issues while driving, these vision changes could be warning signs.
Difficulty Completing Familiar Tasks
Some people may experience a greater problem with concentration. Routine day-to-day tasks requiring critical thought may take longer as the disease progresses.
The ability to drive safely may also be called into question. If you or a loved one gets lost while driving a commonly traveled route, this may be a symptom of AD.
Read Also: What Color Ribbon Is Alzheimer’s
What Happens In The Early Stage Of Dementia
Dementia affects everyone differently and early symptoms are often relatively mild and not always easy to notice.
Many people at the early stage of dementia stay largely independent and only need a bit of assistance with daily living. It is important to focus on what the person can do and not to take over and do things for them. Instead, try doing things with them, for example helping the person develop a routine, reminder lists and prompts, and use technology.
For more information for people living with dementia, see the ‘Keeping active and involved‘ page.
The early stage of dementia is when many people choose to make plans for the future, while they still have the ability to do so. This includes making a Lasting power of attorney , and advance decisions and advance statements to ensure their wishes and preferences are made clear.
Difficulties In Thinking Things Through And Planning
A person may get confused more easily and find it harder to plan, make complex decisions or solve problems.
Recommended Reading: Are Jigsaw Puzzles Good For Dementia
Diminished Sense Of Smell
You used to be able to smell those fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies immediately, and now you hardly notice them. According to the National Institute on Aging, losing your sense of smell can be a symptom of Alzheimer’s, so it’s crucial to bring it up to your doctor if you notice any changes. Loss of smell and taste is also a symptom of coronavirus. And for more concerning COVID-19 signs, check out 13 Coronavirus Symptoms That Are More Common Than a Sore Throat.
What Are The Signs Of Alzheimer’s Disease
Scientists continue to unravel the complex brain changes involved in the onset and progression of Alzheimers disease. It seems likely that damage to the brain starts a decade or more before memory and other cognitive problems appear. During this preclinical stage of Alzheimers disease, people seem to be symptom-free, but toxic changes are taking place in the brain.
Damage occurring in the brain of someone with Alzheimers disease begins to show itself in very early clinical signs and symptoms. For most people with Alzheimersthose who have the late-onset varietysymptoms first appear in their mid-60s. Signs of early-onset Alzheimers begin between a persons 30s and mid-60s.
The first symptoms of Alzheimers vary from person to person. Memory problems are typically one of the first signs of cognitive impairment related to Alzheimers disease. Decline in non-memory aspects of cognition, such as word-finding, vision/spatial issues, and impaired reasoning or judgment, may also signal the very early stages of Alzheimers disease. And some people may be diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment. As the disease progresses, people experience greater memory loss and other cognitive difficulties.
Alzheimers disease progresses in several stages: preclinical, mild , moderate, and severe .
Also Check: Shampoos That Cause Alzheimer’s Disease
Needing Constant Memory Aids
When your memory is in good working order, you can recall most things without always having to write them down or be reminded. However, those in the throes of early Alzheimer’s become more dependent on memory aids, like reminder notes, and often need their friends and family members to help them out. If you can’t so much as remember to pick your friend up at the airport without an alert on your phone telling you to do so, it might be time to see the doctor.
Find Out How You Know Whether Your Forgetfulness Is Just A Sign Of Trying To Do Too Much At Once Or Whether You Might Be Showing Early Signs Of Alzheimer’s
You might have a habit of misplacing your cell phone. Or maybe there was the time you ran into an old high school palthe one whose yearbook you signed, “friends 4-ever”but you blanked on her name.
With June being Alzheimer’s disease and brain awareness month, it’s a good reminder to learn the early signs of Alzheimer’s, a disease of the brain that causes gradual memory loss as well as a decline in thinking and reasoning skills.
So maybe you’re wondering: If I forget things, misplace belongings, blank on a word or a name, am I destined for Alzheimer’s?
Not necessarily. With life being busy and our minds constantly challenged with processing and storing new and old information, it’s totally normal to occasionally slip up in the memory department.
Another culprit? Multitasking. Most of us inevitably find ourselves doing a zillion things at once, which is an impossible thing to do, according to recent research. Although we may think we are capable of it, multitasking is but a myth. Our brain is not designed to perform multiple tasks at the same time.
Memory is also a function of the cognitive decline that’s a normal process of aging. Our memory or recall of events that happened years before are stored and preserved yet, recent memory or the formation of new memories becomes more vulnerable as we age.
Don’t Miss: Can Cause Sores Rashes Dementia Or Blindness
A Personal Alarm Built With Dementia In Mind
If you care for someone with dementia, you may want to consider a system like the CPR Guardian Smartwatch. This light and stylish watch is often preferred by elderly relatives who are used to wearing a watch every day. The CPR Guardian can pair with a carers smartphone, enabling them to find out the wearers GPS location and communicate with the wearer directly through the watch. The watch also comes with an SOS button that alerts the carer directly when pressed. It can even monitor the wearers heart rate! All of these features mean that there is always a way to keep track of your relative with dementia, make sure theyre okay, and be alerted if there is ever a problem.
Sponsored by CPR Guardian
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.
Recommended Reading: Does Neil Diamond Have Alzheimer’s
How Is Alzheimers Disease Diagnosed
Talk to a doctor if you or a loved one is finding it increasingly difficult to perform day-to-day tasks, or if you or a loved one is experiencing increased memory loss. They may refer you to a doctor who specializes in AD.
Theyll conduct a medical exam and a neurological exam to aid in the diagnosis. They may also choose to complete an imaging test of your brain. They can only make a diagnosis after the medical evaluation is completed.
Theres no cure for AD at this time. The symptoms of AD can sometimes be treated with medications meant to help improve memory loss or decrease sleeping difficulties.
Research is still being done on possible alternative treatments.
What To Do When A Loved One Is Exhibiting Symptoms Of Alzheimers
If these symptoms persist and are interfering with a loved ones ability to lead a normal life, its time to intervene or at least start carefully monitoring their well-being. Don’t let yourself or a family member remain in denial about what may be Alzheimers. With early diagnosis, treatment and proper support, the progression of Alzheimers can sometimes be mitigated. Its never too soon to learn what can be done to ensure a loved ones health, happiness, and safety.
Also Check: Alzheimer Ribbon Color
Becoming Totally Uninterested In Everything
One of the most common changes those with Alzheimer’s go through is no longer being interested in things they used to loveor no longer being interested in anything, for that matter. A 2001 study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society revealed that, while disinterest is a frequent symptom among those with Alzheimer’s, it’s also one of the most under-recognized signs. Researchers at the University of Exeter conducted a study in 2019, and they found that nearly half of all people with dementia experience apathy.
A Shortened Attention Span
As Alzheimer’s spreads in the brain, one issue that might pop up is a shortened attention span. Someone who used to be able to sit and have a full conversation might no longer be able to focus on just one thing for more than a few minutes or even a few seconds, according to the National Institute on Aging.
Read Also: Reading With Dementia
Rapid And Unexplained Mood Swings And/or Depression
This is different to: more typical age-related behaviours such as becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.
Mood and personality changes can be associated with early signs of dementia. This could include becoming confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious, and your parent may find themselves getting easily upset in places they feel unsure about. Some of the dementia symptoms NHS lists include:
- Increased anxiety
- Violent mood swings
For example, your parent may appear calm, then visibly upset, and then very angry in a matter of minutes. This is a significant sign of dementia anger and frustration specifically if its unprovoked.
Other physical signs include pacing, obsessing over minor details, agitation, fear, confusion, rage and feeling overwhelmed because theyre trying to make sense of a world thats now confusing to them.
Early Signs Of Dementia In Men
Dementia is a collection of symptoms, and there are many overlapping features between the different types. Other diseases and disorders can contribute to dementia, which may affect thought processes, communication ability, focus, and memory capacity of those affected. It is important to not assume your loved one has dementia just because they are facing memory problems. The diagnosis can be complicated and requires the assessment of a doctor or medical professional. The following are some of the more common signs of early dementia in men:
Recent memory loss: Forgetting recent conversations or events is often the first sign. Memories are often not affected and may throw off family members, making them think that memory is okay. Often those affected by dementia will not be able to remember what they eat for breakfast.
Difficulty performing familiar tasks: A very reliable warning sign, according to many medical experts. Dementia patients often lose the ability to cook food they once did flawlessly or get lost on their way home in a neighborhood theyve lived in their whole lives.
Language problems: Struggling to communicate thoughts is often an early sign of dementia. They have difficulty explaining things or have trouble finding the right words to express themselves. They may also substitute the wrong word either knowingly or not.
Read Also: Dementia Jigsaw Puzzles