Dementia is basically a group of symptoms that may occur due to a whole variety of diseases. Its symptoms include impairments in communication, thought and memory.
However, just because your family member or a friend is experiencing memory problems, you shouldn’t immediately fear dementia. A person has to show at least two types of signs that significantly interfere with his/her everyday life in order to receive diagnosis for dementia, and those are listed below.
Short-term memory changes
Memory problems are the earliest symptom of dementia. These changes are often really subtle to the point of almost being unnoticeable and they tend to damage short-term memory. Roughly said, a person will remember to the last detail what it was like on their first day at work, while not remembering what they had for lunch earlier this day. Also, they will probably forget where they left an item, why they entered the room etc.
Difficulty with finding the right words
Dementia also damages communicating thoughts, and the person will have difficulty explaining something simple and finding the right words to express their point. These talks tend to be quite difficult and take forever to conclude.
Another quite common sign of dementia are definitely mood changes, along with depression and shifts in personality. Typically, a person varies from shy to totally outgoing, since this condition affects a person’s judgement.
Apathy also occurs in early dementia, since a person can easily lose interests in many hobbies and activities that they loved doing. They simply do not want to have fun, go out, spend time with friends and family etc.
People in early stages can often become quite confused, especially when they have to think, judge or use their memory. The confusion can arise to a point where they can no longer find the right words, remember faces, or interact with people normally.
Difficulty with following basic storylines
This is one of the most basic early symptoms of dementia. A person tends to forget the words he/she hears, or struggles to follow simple things such as TV programs or conversations.
Failing sense of direction
The sense of spatial orientation and direction slowly starts to decrease when dementia is present. This means a person will not recognize once-familiar landmarks and usually forgets regularly used directions. Also, a person may have troubles with following a series of step-by-step instructions or directions.
Since dementia also brings behavioural changes and memory loss, repetition is a logic occurrence. The person will repeat a daily task such as showering or shaving, or may obsessively collect items. Also, repetitive questions, right after they are answered, are also a quite common occurrence.
Struggling to adapt to changes
When someone goes through an early stage of dementia, the experience itself can cause panic and fear. Suddenly, they cannot recognize people they know or follow what they’re saying. They cannot remember why they had to go to the shop and also get lost on the way there, or home. All this leads to fear of new experiences, since they find it too difficult to adapt.
When to see a doctor?
Again, things like memory problems or general forgetfulness don’t necessarily have to mean that a person has dementia. These are simply normal parts of aging. However, just to be sure, do not ignore these symptoms. You can talk to a neurologist to examine your loved one’s mental health and determine whether they have dementia or not with the help of mental tests, neurological exams, blood tests and brain imaging.
If it turns out the person has dementia, don’t despair. Not only can its progression be slowed down with medications, therapy and cognitive training, but you can also use a dementia home care service to take care of your loved one.
We will all get old and there is something waiting for all of us. Dementia is a common state in people over the age of 65, and again, it isn’t something you should despair about. However, do the analyses as soon as you notice some changes in order to help your loved one in the earliest stages.