10 Warning Signs of Dementia
It is estimated that 5.7 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease
(the most common form of dementia), and this number is only rising. For each sufferer, the effects can be overwhelming and frustrating, and for the family, the process can be devastating to watch.
It is important to catch this condition as early as possible. Alzheimer’s may not have a known cure as of yet, but a quick diagnosis means the best information and enough time to plan for the future. These warning signs may be subtle, but if any of the following points sound familiar, then get a doctor’s opinion just to be sure.
1. Memory Loss
When one imagines the symptoms of dementia, memory loss is often the first example put forward. Of course, everyone forgets a few dates and names from time to time, especially as they get older. But when your loved one is noticeably unable to retain any new information and keeps asking the same questions over and over again, then this is a cause for concern.
2. Unable to Perform Familiar Tasks
Another memory-related red flag is when individuals find it difficult to carry out their everyday routine, such as dressing themselves or finding the way to their local shop. Even the fun stuff may prove impossible, such as remembering the rules to a favorite board game or putting together a meal that they’ve cooked a hundred times.
3. Forever Misplacing Items
If you start to find objects in unusual places (for example, their keys in the fridge or their watch in the sugar bowl), then it might be time for a quick doctor visit. People suffering from dementia are known to misplace items and then become angry or even suspicious when they can’t locate them. The retracing of their steps may also turn out to be too much of a strenuous task.
4. Disorientated About Where and When
As is often the case, it can be very difficult for people with dementia to grasp anything that isn’t right here, right now. They may become confused about where they are, how they got there, and which is the best way to get back home. Even if they are surrounded by a familiar environment with their friends, they could still feel unsettled and lost at a moment’s notice. To make matters even more complicated, they might have no idea which month or year it currently is.
5. Changes in Personality
One of the hardest factors of dealing with a loved one’s dementia is watching their behavior slowly change. Their moods may abruptly shift for no apparent reason, they may become paranoid or abusive towards you, and they may suffer from depression or anxiety as the day goes on (known as sundowner’s syndrome). It’s important that you don’t take any of this personally and rather experiment with different methods of bringing them comfort. Click here to for a better understanding of sundowner’s syndrome.
6. Impaired Judgment
A lack of good judgment can be a very serious concern, as it leaves a person in a vulnerable situation. They may neglect their hygiene, get involved with money troubles, overlook serious medical problems, or even become sexually inappropriate in their actions or words. This can endanger their lives as well as the lives of others and needs to be carefully surveyed.
7. Incapable of Simple Maths
Mathematics is a daunting subject for many people, but when numbers completely lose their meaning and a person has no idea what to do with them, then even a quick visit to the store can turn into an impossible task. Warning signs include the inability to follow instructions or how to operate a calculator.
8. Recently Developed Language Problems
If you’ve noticed that someone can no longer initiate, join, or follow a conversation, then it may be time for a checkup. Some other potential language symptoms include the incorrect usage of a word in a sentence or the frequent repetition of information.
9. Difficulty Recognizing Visual Imagery
There are various visual difficulties associated with dementia patients. This may manifest as the inability of identifying colors, struggling to read, or calculating the distance between objects. In severe cases, hallucinations have been reported. If your loved one is showing any of these symptoms, they should no longer be permitted to drive.
10. Social Withdrawal
An individual with dementia may lose interest in almost everything they once enjoyed. Their old hobbies no longer stimulate them, and they are apathetic towards their friends or family. This could lead to reclusive behavior, which makes it even more difficult to keep an eye on their condition. If this is the case, visit them often or consider getting outside help.