Dementia can be a frightening prospect for many people entering old age, but early diagnosis can help. When the early signs of dementia are first noticed by a healthcare professional, conversations can begin with the patient to improve their day to day living.
According to Alzheimer’s Research UK, there are currently around 850,000 people in this country living with dementia. Other statistics regarding this medical condition include:
- 24% males born in 2015 will develop dementia in their lifetime.
- 35% of females born in the same year will develop the condition.
- The number of people with dementia in the UK is set to increase to 1,142,677 by 2025.
- From 2010/11 to 2015/16 there has been a 56% increase in the number of people being diagnosed.
Dealing with dementia is becoming more common through various strategies. First through, we need to be able to recognise the early signs of dementia in patients, friends and loved ones.
5 Early signs of Dementia:
1. Memory changes
We often first think of the early signs of dementia being people forgetting things. Forgetting names, places, conversations and being repetitive can be one of the early signs of dementia. Often short-term memory is affected more than long-term memory. Meaning that a person with dementia may be able to recall events that happened decades ago, whilst not being able to remember when they last ate a meal.
People with dementia may also struggle to find the words they want to say, or just take longer to communicate with you as they can struggle to follow stories and conversations. It’s important to look out for more than one symptom when trying to diagnose dementia.
2. Changes in mood
Depression can be one of the early signs of dementia. Other changes in a person’s mood may occur and can be quick to change when they have dementia. Some people can behave quite differently from how they usually are, especially when frustrated. Frustration and depression can stem from their difficulties with their memory loss and day to day tasks becoming a struggle for them. You may notice that they have also lost some interest in hobbies or activities that they would usually get involved in. This can also be one of the early signs of dementia.
3. Being repetitive & Confusion
You may find that you keep asking the same questions during the same conversation. It’s not just questions and your speech either, it may be that you keep repeating certain daily tasks such as making your bed or brushing your teeth.
Another early sign of dementia is becoming easily confused during these daily tasks and conversations. Forgetting your words or forgetting where you have put something are common examples of this. Confusion can happen quite suddenly, for example if they you’re in an unfamiliar environment, you may become stressed if you don’t remember where you are or why they you there.
4. Difficulty with tasks
Seemingly simple, day to day tasks can become incredibly difficult to complete for those with dementia. Tasks that should be familiar to them, like making a cup of tea every morning, may now confuse them, and they may forget the order in which they should do things.
5. Unable to handle change
Due to the memory changes, confusion and changes in mood, people with dementia may be resistant to change. Understandably they can be frightened by the confusion they are experiencing. Having a routine that they are familiar with, will be of comfort to them and they may become stubborn to make adjustments to this. Therefore being unable to handle change is one of the early signs of dementia that you may notice.
These are the common early signs of dementia that many notice first. But of course some people may notice more than others and even some symptoms won’t be obvious in the early stages. If you have any concerns seek professional help from your doctor.