Cognitive Test for Dementia: Detect Early

cognitive tests for dementia

The intention of this article is to assist our readers with selecting a cognitive test for dementia.

Dementia is a complex condition and can have many different causes and symptoms. There are various cognitive tests and assessments that healthcare professionals may use as a preliminary evaluation of a person’s cognitive abilities indicating that they may have dementia.

The primary tests include:
Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). A widely used test that evaluates cognitive function in areas such as memory, attention, and language.

Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA). A screening tool designed to detect mild cognitive impairment and early-stage dementia.

Clock Drawing Test (CDT). A simple test that assesses a person’s ability to perceive and reproduce a visual stimulus, which can give insight into cognitive abilities such as spatial awareness and executive function.

Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam (SAGE). A brief, self-administered tool designed to detect early signs of cognitive, memory, and thinking impairments in older adults.

We discuss each of these tests in greater depth further into this article.

Note: no single cognitive test for dementia can definitively diagnose dementia. A thorough evaluation by a qualified medical professional is necessary to determine a diagnosis and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

cognitive test for dementia

The Importance of Early Diagnosis in Dementia

Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease are progressive brain disorders that affects memory, thinking, behavior, and emotion. It is a leading cause of disability and dependency amongst the elderly. Early detection of dementia is essential for the following reasons:

Accurate diagnosis

Early detection allows for an accurate diagnosis of the type of dementia a person is experiencing. This can guide appropriate treatment and care.

Access to treatment

Some types of dementia can be treated or managed with medications and other therapies. Early detection allows for timely access to these treatments, which can improve quality of life and slow the progression of the disease.

Better planning

Early detection allows individuals and their loved ones to plan ahead, making necessary lifestyle changes, and putting legal and financial affairs in order while the person with early cognitive decline is still able to participate in decision-making.

Improved support

Early diagnosis allows for the provision of appropriate support and services to the person with dementia and their family, such as counseling, education, and caregiver training.


Early detection supports research efforts to better understand dementia, develop new treatments, and improve care for people with the disease.

Overall, early detection of dementia is crucial for improving outcomes for people with the disease and their loved ones, as well as for advancing our knowledge and understanding of this complex condition.

4 Common Cognitive Tests for Dementia

1. Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE)

The Mini-Mental State Examination is a cognitive screening tool designed to assess cognitive function in adults. The test consists of a series of questions and tasks that evaluate various cognitive domains. These include: orientation, attention, memory, language, and visuospatial skills.

The MMSE takes approximately 10-15 minutes to administer and is scored out of 30. Higher scores indicate better cognitive function.

The test has been used extensively in clinical and research settings and considered a reliable and valid measure of cognitive function.

The MMSE is not a definitive diagnostic tool for dementia and should be used in conjunction with other diagnostic measures.

Additionally, some limitations of the MMSE include potential cultural and educational biases, which may affect the accuracy of the test results in some populations.

Link to the MMSE Test.

2. Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA)

The Montreal Cognitive Assessment is a cognitive screening tool that was developed as an alternative to the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE).

It assesses various cognitive domains that include: attention, memory, language, visuospatial skills, and executive function.

This cognitive test for dementia consists of 30 items, and a score of 26 or higher out of 30 is considered normal. Allow 10-15 minutes to administer.

The MoCA is more sensitive than the MMSE in detecting mild cognitive impairment and early-stage dementia. It is therefore becoming increasingly popular in clinical and research settings.

The MoCA has also been translated into multiple languages and has been proven in a variety of populations, making it a useful test for assessing dementia in diverse populations.

However, like all cognitive tests, the MoCA should be used in conjunction with other diagnostic measures and not be used as a sole basis for a dementia diagnosis.

Download MoCA PDF.

3. Clock Drawing Test (CDT)

Clock Drawing Test for Dementia

The Clock Drawing Test is a widely used cognitive screening tool designed to detect early signs of cognitive impairment and dementia.

It assesses visuospatial and executive function by requiring the patient to draw a clock face from memory and set the time to a specific hour.

The test evaluates different aspects of clock drawing, including the placement and size of the numbers, hands, and clock face.

Scoring is based on a variety of factors. These include placement, size, and symmetry. The CDT can be a stand-alone test or used in combination with other cognitive tests. It has been shown to be a sensitive and specific measure of cognitive impairment in dementia.

The test has some limitations, such as the possibility of cultural and educational biases. It should also be used in conjunction with other diagnostic measures to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of cognitive function in individuals with suspected dementia.

Clock drawing Cognitive Test PDF.

4. Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam (SAGE)

The Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam is a brief, self-administered screening tool that assesses various cognitive domains. These domains include orientation, language, memory, visuospatial abilities, executive function, and social cognition.

The SAGE takes approximately 15-20 minutes to complete and consists of 12 questions.

This cognitive test for dementia is designed to be easily administered and scored by individuals with no formal training in cognitive testing.

The SAGE has proven to be a reliable and valid measure of cognitive function in older adults. It is a useful tool for identifying early signs of cognitive impairment and dementia.

This test has the added benefit of being self-administered, allowing individuals to assess their own cognitive function in the comfort of their own home.

Individuals can download and print a PDF of the test for administering.

Like all cognitive tests, the SAGE should be used in conjunction with other diagnostic measures and should not be used as a sole basis for a dementia diagnosis.

Download the SAGE test.

Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam (SAGE)Clock Drawing Test (CDT)Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam (SAGE)
Cognitive screening toolCognitive screening toolCognitive screening toolBrief, self-administered cognitive screening tool
Used to assess cognitive function in adultsDeveloped as an alternative to the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE)Assesses visuospatial and executive functionAssesses various cognitive domains: orientation, language, memory, visuospatial abilities, executive function, and social cognition
Consists of a series of questions and tasksAssesses various cognitive domains: attention, memory, language, visuospatial skills, and executive functionRequires the individual to draw a clock face from memory and set the time to a specific hourConsists of 12 questions
Evaluates various cognitive domains: orientation, attention, memory, language, and visuospatial skillsConsists of 30 itemsUsed to detect early signs of cognitive impairment and dementiaTakes approximately 15-20 minutes to complete
Takes approximately 10-15 minutes to administerTakes approximately 10-15 minutes to administerEvaluates various aspects of clock drawing, including placement and size of numbers, hands, and clock faceDesigned to be easily administered and scored by individuals with no formal training in cognitive testing
Scored out of 30 pointsA score of 26 or higher out of 30 is considered normalScores are based on a variety of factors, including placement, size, and symmetryReliable and valid measure of cognitive function in older adults
Higher scores indicate better cognitive functionMore sensitive than the MMSE in detecting mild cognitive impairment and early-stage dementiaCan be used alone or in combination with other cognitive testsUseful tool for identifying early signs of cognitive impairment and dementia
Reliable and valid measure of cognitive functionValidated in a variety of populationsHas been shown to be a sensitive and specific measure of cognitive impairment in dementiaSelf-administered, allowing individuals to assess their own cognitive function in the comfort of their own home
Used extensively in clinical and research settingsTranslated into multiple languagesHas some limitations, such as the possibility of cultural and educational biasesTo be used in conjunction with other diagnostic measures
To be used in conjunction with other diagnostic measuresUseful for assessing cognitive function in diverse populationsTo be used in conjunction with other diagnostic measuresNot to be used as a sole basis for a dementia diagnosis
Not a definitive diagnostic tool for dementiaTo be used in conjunction with other diagnostic measures
Potential cultural and educational biases should be consideredNot to be used as a sole basis for a dementia diagnosis


How a Cognitive Test for Dementia Works

Cognitive tests are tools used to assess a person’s cognitive function. This includes a variety of mental processes such as attention, memory, language, and visual-spatial ability.

These tests are designed to evaluate cognitive strengths and weaknesses, identify areas of impairment or decline, and help in the diagnosis of cognitive disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

5 Cognitive Domains Assessed by These Tests:

1. Orientation: Assesses awareness of time, place, and person, and their ability to recognize and recall important details about their surroundings.
2. Attention: Assesses ability to focus and sustain attention on specific tasks or stimuli, and their ability to shift attention between different tasks or stimuli.
3. Memory: ability to encode, store, and retrieve information, including both short-term and long-term memory.
4. Language: Assesses ability to communicate effectively, including their ability to understand and use language, express themselves verbally and in writing, and comprehend spoken and written language.
5. Visual-spatial ability: Assesses ability to perceive and manipulate visual information, including their ability to recognize and interpret shapes, sizes, and spatial relationships.

Cognitive tests typically evaluate these domains through a variety of tasks, such as recalling a list of words, naming objects or pictures, drawing a clock face, or following complex instructions. By assessing a person’s performance on these tasks, these tests can provide valuable insights into their cognitive abilities and identify potential areas of impairment or decline.

Interpreting Cognitive Test Results

SAGE Dementia Test Health Professional Assessment

Interpreting cognitive test results requires a thorough understanding of the specific test being used, as well as the person’s medical history, current symptoms, and other diagnostic information.

Health professionals, such as psychiatrists, neurologists, and neuropsychologists, are typically responsible for interpreting cognitive test results.

When interpreting results, doctors consider a range of factors, including:

Test scores

The individual’s scores on each test provide important information about their cognitive abilities and can help identify areas of strength and weakness.

Age and education level

Age and education level can have a significant impact on cognitive function. Test results are often interpreted in the context of the person’s age and education level.

Medical history

The individual’s medical history, including any previous diagnoses or treatment for cognitive impairment or dementia, can provide important context for interpreting test results.


The individual’s current symptoms and level of functioning can provide important insights into the severity and nature of their cognitive impairment.

Other diagnostic information

Cognitive test results are typically interpreted in conjunction with other diagnostic information such as imaging studies or laboratory tests. In doing so, a more comprehensive understanding of the individual’s cognitive function is established.

Scoring Systems for Various Cognitive Tests

Scoring systems for cognitive tests vary depending on the specific test being used. Here are some examples of how cognitive tests are scored:

Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE)

The MMSE assesses several cognitive domains, including orientation, attention, memory, language, and visual-spatial ability.

The test consists of a series of questions, and each question is assigned a score based on the individual’s response.
The maximum possible score on the MMSE is 30. A score of 24 or lower indicating possible cognitive impairment.

Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA)

The MoCA assesses similar cognitive domains to the MMSE, but includes more complex tasks and measures.
The test consists of a series of questions, and each question is assigned a score based on the individual’s response.

The maximum possible score on the MoCA is 30. A score of 26 or lower indicating possible cognitive impairment.

Clock Drawing Test (CDT)

The CDT assesses visual-spatial ability and executive function. The individual is asked to draw a clock face with specific instructions, and the drawing is assigned a score based on accuracy and completeness.

The test is typically scored on a 6-point scale, with lower scores indicating greater impairment.

Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam (SAGE)

The SAGE assesses several cognitive domains, including orientation, language, memory, visuospatial abilities, executive function, and social cognition.

The test consists of a series of questions, and each question is assigned a score based on the individual’s response.

The maximum possible score on the SAGE is 22. A score of 14 or lower indicating possible cognitive impairment.

Generally, cognitive tests are scored based on the individual’s performance on specific tasks or questions, with lower scores indicating greater impairment.

Test scores should be interpreted in the context of the individual’s age, education level, medical history, and other diagnostic information to provide a comprehensive understanding of their cognitive function.

Diagnoses and Treatment Plans

Brain scan to diagnose dementia

Cognitive test results are used to help diagnose and develop treatment plans for people with early dementia. Here are some ways that test results are used in diagnosis and treatment planning:


Results of a cognitive test for dementia can help healthcare professionals diagnose early dementia.

Tests such as the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), and Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam (SAGE) are commonly used to assess cognitive function and identify potential areas of impairment.

Based on the test results and other diagnostic information, healthcare professionals can make a diagnosis of early dementia.

Severity Assessment

Cognitive test results can help healthcare professionals assess the severity of early dementia.

Scores on tests such as the MMSE, MoCA, and SAGE can be used to measure the extent of cognitive impairment and track changes in cognitive function over time.

This information can help healthcare professionals develop treatment plans that are tailored to the individual’s needs.

Treatment planning

Test results can help healthcare professionals develop individualized treatment plans for people with early dementia.

Treatment plans may include medication to manage symptoms, cognitive rehabilitation therapy to improve cognitive function, and lifestyle modifications to promote overall health and well-being.

The specific treatment plan will depend on the individual’s test results, medical history, and other diagnostic information.


Test results can also help healthcare professionals monitor the progression of early dementia over time.

Regular testing can help track changes in cognitive function and adjust treatment plans as needed.


By providing a comprehensive assessment of cognitive function, test results help healthcare professionals develop individualized treatment plans that address the unique needs of each person with early dementia.

Limitations of Cognitive Tests for Dementia

Dementia Tests for Early Diagnosis

While cognitive tests can be useful in assessing cognitive function and identifying potential areas of impairment, there are limitations to their use in diagnosing dementia. Here are some limitations to consider:

Cultural and linguistic biases

Some tests may have cultural and linguistic biases that can impact test performance. For example, tests that rely heavily on language may be more difficult for individuals who speak a different language or have a different cultural background.

Education Level

Tests may be less accurate with people with lower education levels, as some questions may be more difficult for those with less formal education.

Learning Effect

Individuals may improve their performance on cognitive tests with repeated testing, which can make it difficult to accurately assess changes in cognitive function over time.

Comorbid Conditions

Some medical conditions, such as depression or anxiety, can impact test performance and may need to be considered in the diagnostic process.

Lack of Sensitivity

Some tests may not be sensitive enough to detect early stages of dementia or subtle changes in cognitive function.


It’s important to consider these limitations when interpreting cognitive test results, and to use a combination of tests and other diagnostic information to make a diagnosis of dementia.

Cognitive Test for Dementia – Final Thoughts

Early detection of dementia is crucial for effective management and treatment of the condition. Cognitive tests play a vital role in detecting early signs of cognitive impairment.

People who suspect they or someone they know may be experiencing cognitive decline should seek professional medical advice as soon as possible. This could include talking to a primary care physician or a specialist in cognitive disorders.

Early diagnosis and treatment can help slow the progression of dementia and improve quality of life for both the individual and their caregivers.

By maintaining a healthy lifestyle to promote overall brain health and potentially reduce the risk of cognitive decline is important. Lifestyle considerations such as regular physical exercise, a balanced diet, and mental stimulation.

By acting early and seeking professional medical advice, people can improve their chances of effectively managing dementia and maintaining a good quality of life.

SAGE Dementia Test: 15 Minute At-Home Test

SAGE Dementia Test: 15 Minute At-Home Test

The SAGE dementia test, also known as the Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam, is a short cognitive assessment tool designed to help detect early signs of cognitive impairment and dementia.

The SAGE test includes several features that make useful as a screening tool:

Features of the SAGE Dementia Test

  • Self-administered: The cognitive test can be taken by the person being screened, without the need for a healthcare professional to administer it.
  • Brief: Only 15 minutes to needed to complete the test.
  • Simple language: It uses easy-to-understand language minimizing confusion and helping ensure responses are accurate.
  • Four cognitive domains: Cognitive function are assessed in four key domains. These are orientation, language, memory, and visuospatial ability.
  • Cultural neutrality: It is designed to be culturally neutral, meaning it can be utilized by people from diverse backgrounds and languages.
  • Scoring system: The test has a scoring system that helps to interpret results and identify dementia.
    Note that the SAGE dementia test is not a diagnostic tool. A thorough evaluation by a qualified medical professional is required to determine a diagnosis of dementia or cognitive impairment.

SAGE Dementia Test Health Professional Assessment

Administering the SAGE Dementia Test?

The test has four parts, each of which includes questions or tasks that patients must do. Here are examples of questions/tasks that patients may be asked to complete during the SAGE test:

  1. Orientation: Questions to gauge orientation to time and place, such as “What is today’s date?” or “Where are we right now?”
  2. Language: Name common items, recall the names of animals, and describe similarities between objects.
  3. Reasoning: Solve simple mathematical problems, identify the next number in a sequence, and follow a set of instructions.
  4. Visuospatial skills: Draw a clock face and set the time to a specific hour, and to identify the missing parts in a picture.

In addition, the SAGE dementia test includes questions that evaluate executive function, such as identifying the appropriate word to complete a sentence and recalling details from a short story.

Scoring and Interpreting the SAGE Cognitive Assessment

SAGE Dementia Test

Scoring and interpreting the Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam typically involves the following steps:


Each question is scored independently, with the total number of correct responses providing a raw score. A higher score indicates better cognitive function.


The raw score is then converted to a standardized score based on age and education level. This identifies and accounts for potential biases and differences in cognitive function that are based on demographic factors.

Cut-off scores

The standardized score can then be matched to cut-off scores to identify the likelihood of dementia. For example, a score below a certain level may signal a need for further evaluation or referral to a specialist.

Clinical judgment

While the SAGE test does provide valuable information about cognitive function, it is important to note that it should be used in conjunction with other diagnostic tools and clinical judgment to establish a diagnosis of cognitive impairment.

Overall, scoring and interpreting the SAGE dementia test demands careful attention to the specific questions and response options, as well as consideration of demographics and other diagnostic information. It is important to utilize a healthcare professional who is trained in the use and interpretation of cognitive tests to make certain cognitive function is accurately and appropriately assessed.

Health Professionals Planning

Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam

If the results of the SAGE exam indicate cognitive impairment, healthcare professionals may use this information to create a plan for further evaluation and treatment. These steps include:

Referral for additional testing

If the results suggest cognitive impairment, the patient will likely be referred for further testing to help establish the cause and severity of the impairment. This may be a more comprehensive cognitive test, blood tests or brain imaging.

Referral to a specialist

Subject to the suspected cause of the cognitive impairment, the patient may be referred to a neurologist, neuropsychologist, or geriatrician, for further assessment and treatment.

Treatment planning

From the results of the SAGE exam and any additional assessments, healthcare professionals may work with the patient and their caregivers to establish a treatment plan. This may include medications to manage underlying conditions or symptoms, cognitive training and rehabilitation, and lifestyle modifications.

Monitoring and follow-up

Cognitive impairment and dementia are progressive conditions, so healthcare professionals may schedule regular follow-up appointments to monitor cognitive function and modify treatment plans as required.

Limitations of the Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam

The test is not intended to be used as a diagnostic tool on its own, but rather as a screening tool that can assist with identifying individuals who may gain from further evaluation. The SAGE test is only the beginning of the process. Further assessment will be required before a treatment plan can be put into place.

Download the SAGE Dementia Test

Download the SAGE dementia test HERE.

The SAGE test is difficult to administer online. You would need to download a test in your language and print it out to administer. If you are looking for an online test, then you may like to use the Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE). The MMSE test is a similar test that can be administered by a person who is not trained. It also takes only 15 minutes. Here is a link to the online MMSE test.

Final Thoughts

The Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam (SAGE) is a simple, convenient, and effective tool for assessing dementia across several domains. It can help individuals and healthcare professionals identify probable cognitive impairment and take appropriate actions to address it.

It is important to note that the SAGE test is not a diagnostic tool on its own and should be used in combination with other assessment tools and clinical evaluation.

If you or someone you know is experiencing cognitive decline or has concerns about cognitive function, it’s necessary to seek professional medical advice.

Acting early can make a significant difference in managing cognitive impairment and improving quality of life.

There are a variety of tests for assessing cognitive decline. This article explains and compares 5 different dementia tests.

6 Early Warning Signs of Dementia 

6 early warning signs of dementia

Let’s talk about the 6 early warning signs of dementia.

Feeling tired, stressed, lethargic?

You would have all the symptoms of dementia, but do you really have dementia?

Tiredness and stress, may simply be due to late nights, low blood sugar, heavy work load, or any number of things. There are a number of signs that are not real dementia.

The worst thing you could do is give your spouse or partner the wrong diagnosis.

Another trap is the belief you have dementia, but not actually have it. You may have a well-meaning spouse who self-diagnoses you with dementia. He/she then gets into the habit of reminding you when you are forgetful and corrects you when you make a mistake. You then start to think and feel that you actually have early dementia.

It doesn’t mean you have dementia if these symptoms happen occasionally.

early warning signs of dementia

What is dementia?

A mental decline. When certain parts of your brain are shrinking, specifically a structure called the hippocampus.

6 Early Warning Signs of Dementia

1.Poor organization

People with early dementia may have problems with familiar everyday organization tasks. They may get confused with the order of things or with making plans.

2. Personality changes

Having unexpected mood swings where a person switches between emotions for no apparent reason may indicate an early sign of dementia. For no real reason, they may seem different from his/her usual self. They may become irritable, depressed, anxious, agitated, or apathetic.


Our gut is like a second brain. There is a connection between our gut and our brain. The microbiome (bacteria) in our gut makes neurotransmitters. They also make more serotonin than our brain makes serotonin. Serotonin is a natural mood stabiliser that regulates wellbeing and happiness.

We have more nerve fibers in our digestive system than we do in our spinal column.

Many cognitive problems can stem from our gut. People who have Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease have much higher instance of constipation than someone who doesn’t have these diseases.

However, it is important to note that if you have constipation, it doesn’t mean you have dementia. It is just an early sign.

4.Sensory Dysfunction.

unable to focus

This could include issues with your smell, taste, hearing, eyesight and even your appetite. These could be early signs of cognitive decline. As sensory decline becomes more apparent, then the ability to focus, concentrate and overall memory is really what shows up to be a problem.

5.Language Problems

Struggling to find words for certain things, tending to repeat saying the same things over and over again, or mixing up words are all early indicators of dementia.

For example, a person may be able to talk and make sentences, but is incoherent. What they are saying does not make sense. Words come out randomly and all over the place.  This can be extremely frustrating for the person trying to communicate. Language problems are a result of a shrinking hippocampus.

6.Problems Navigating

Dementia Patient Getting Confused and Lost

Problems navigating are apparent when you are trying to locate a place in a new area. You get confused and can’t work out where you are.

In our brain we have a GPS which allows us to locate where we are in space. When this area of the brain goes down, we lose this GPS. So, our internal map becomes non-functional, resulting in not being able to find out where you are.

Final Comments

Now that you are aware of what the early warning signs of dementia are, the next step is to know how to prevent the onset of dementia. We have published an article with 7 easy things you can do to prevent cognitive decline.

Viewing Dr. Eric Berg DC channel guided much of the content for this article. Dr. Berg specializes in Intermittent Fasting and Healthy Ketosis.


Ambiguous Loss in Dementia

Ambiguous Loss in Dementia

When caring for a person with dementia, it is possible to experience ambiguous loss in dementia.

Ambiguous loss can be described as a type of loss an individual feels when a person with dementia is physically there, but is not as emotionally or mentally present as before.

Ambiguous Loss Pioneered by Pauline Boss, Ph.D. explains that this type of loss happens when a loved one is not psychologically present.

This is where a person is cognitively or emotionally gone.

Dementia is a progressive, neurodegenerative, and fatal disease that destroys brain cells. For people who care and love for those with the illness, the ambiguous loss is a constant reminder of how challenging the illness can be.

This kind of loss is not like other types of losses.

Ambiguous Loss, Grief and Dementia

Ambiguous loss in dementia affects everyone

Ambiguous loss is often unclear and has not resolution, closure, or predictable ending. For instance, with death, loved ones know that the person is gone and they can grieve the loss.

With the ambiguous loss, however, individuals are usually at crossroads because there is no certainty of death and it is also not possible to tell whether they will go back to their “normal” selves.

Ambiguous Loss in Dementia Affects Everyone

Ambiguous loss does not only affect caregivers but people with dementia as well. Individuals with the progressive illness are likely to experience feelings of grief and loss over their diagnosis and the changes they go through as the disease progresses through various stages.

Some carers will not recognize ambiguous grief or know how to react when the abilities of the individual with dementia change. This type of grief can confuse relationships and prevent people from moving on.

Recognizing these feelings and understanding the concept of this type of loss can help ease the effects. It is possible to grieve the losses through guidance and support allowing carers to stay connected to the person with dementia while at the same time building resilience and strength.

Understanding Ambiguous Loss

Understanding ambiguous loss

Carers need to get an in-depth understanding of this unique type of loss. It helps caregivers come up with effective techniques to cope with ambiguous loss in dementia and live successfully with all the uncertainties that surround the progressive illness.

Carers have to learn new ways of relating with the person with the illness while becoming more comfortable with the ambiguity. This is especially because it is not possible to control the effects and progression of dementia. At the same time, caregivers have to move on with their lives while looking after the individual with the illness.

Effects of Ambiguous Loss in Dementia

Effects of ambiguous loss in dementia

Ambiguous loss can be a huge stressor for people looking after their loved ones with dementia. It can lead to several negative effects such as:

  • Anxiety and stress
  • Ongoing strain and tension
  • Role confusion
  • Depression
  • Family discord that may result in dysfunctional relationships
  • Caregiver isolation

Managing Ambiguous Loss Positively

Managing ambiguous loss positively

Caregivers, family members, and friends can take several steps to positively live with ambiguous loss in dementia and some of them include:


Reflecting on the losses that occur both in the person with dementia and the one looking after the affected individual. Acknowledge this grief, express it, and share it with other persons who will be supportive and understanding. Knowing that a person is not alone when dealing with this type of loss can help offer some relief.

Engage in paradoxical thinking

Paradoxical or dual thinking allows carers to accept the presence and absence that ambiguity presents. It is where a person uses “both/and” thinking instead of “either/or” when dealing with two contradictory ideas that are true at the same time.

This helps people reframe perceptions that they cannot change. “My grandmother has dementia and needs help and I need opportunities to enjoy life” is an example of a paradoxical way of thinking.

Strengthening relationships

Strengthening relationships

Strengthen existing relationships with family and friends is important. At the same time, carers should be open to establishing new relationships that can support and enhance life amid grief and loss.

Where possible, carers should continue with family traditions and celebrations (e.g., holidays and birthdays, etc) making changes where necessary.

Caregivers should also learn to create new rituals that will aid with effective daily living.

Carers should not be afraid of going out to ask for emotional support or hands-on assistance. They should also be ready to share their experiences with others in a bid to help those who may be in a similar position.


Eating well, staying physically active, and taking practical steps towards relieving stress are options people have when it comes to taking care of personal needs. Scheduling breaks from care can also help boost morale and health to enable better decision-making and caregiving.

Identify creative outlets

Look for creative and interesting ways to express loss and grief like painting, writing, or other visual forms of art.

Get professional help

Other than reaching out to caregivers, relatives, and friends for support, professional assistance may also come in handy. Options available include well-organized support groups, licensed councillors, and professional organizations like the Alzheimer’s Society.

Celebrate the happy and sad

While grieving what is lost celebrate what has been gained. It is important to always embrace what remains through the various stages of the illness. For instance, while a person may not be able to take long walks or go to the gym, they can still go to the movies.

Ignore what cannot be controlled

It is not possible to control memory loss of a person with dementia but carers can control their reactions.

Closing Remarks

Caregivers looking after people with dementia may struggle with ambiguous loss in dementia. This does not have to be something that wears the carer out. Understanding what this type of loss is and learning how to successfully manage it is instrumental in taking good care of persons living with dementia.

Dementia and Financial Problems

dementia and financial problems

Persons living with dementia and their caregivers or loved ones will at one point have to deal with dementia and financial problems. This is because as the illness progresses, affected individuals normally struggle to manage their finances.

At the onset of the illness, affected individuals may complete simple tasks such as paying bills without any problem. They may experience difficulties completing tasks like balancing check books. Later on, they can lose their ability to handle money matters.

Seniors with dementia may either need additional support or someone reliable and trustworthy should take over the management of finances. There are several areas where a person with dementia may struggle with finances and these may include:

difficulties managing money

Difficulties Managing Money

Persons with dementia will most likely have continuing financial responsibilities such as credit cards, mortgages, personal loans, or other forms of credit. Some may even have kids who depend on them financially.

Sadly, living with dementia may result in less income, which is something that can create pressure when it comes to keeping up with financial responsibilities.

It is recommended that people who have dementia seek financial advice as soon as possible to know how best to manage their funds. It is usually important to make decisions in advance so that things are handled the way the affected person would want them to be handled.

Signs of Dementia and Money Problems

Be on the lookout for signs of money problems. For example a person with dementia may have difficulty counting change, calculating a tip, paying for a purchase, balancing a checkbook, or understanding a bank statement. They may be afraid or agitated when talking about money. You may also notice:

  • Unpaid and unopened bills
  • Unusual purchases on a credit card
  • Strange new merchandise
  • Money amiss from the person’s bank account

signs of financial fraud or abuse of people with dementia

Having a Separate Bank Account With Limits

Setting up standing orders for regular bills like rent/ mortgage, electricity, and gas is a good way to make sure a person does not forget to make payments.

When it comes to dementia and bank accounts, it is usually best for persons with dementia to have a separate account that will cater for care expenses. It is also advisable to have limits set on the bank account to manage withdrawals.

A trustworthy person should be put in charge of noting the money that comes in and out of the account so that the individual with dementia does not become a victim of fraud.

bank account limits for dementia patients

Explore Available Benefits

It is also important to explore benefits available for persons with dementia to help ease the financial burden.

Persons who are over the age of 65 may benefit from Attendance Allowance, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, and Council Tax Reduction among others.

Looking at insurance options can also be another great way to help manage money well. Additionally, affected individuals can also look into free and low-cost community services they can take advantage of.

Problems Remembering PINs

One of the points that come up when discussing dementia and managing money is the inability to remember PINs (Personal Identification Numbers). If the person with the progressive illness can still effectively take care of their finances, it would be best for them to use chip and signature cards.

This way, the affected person will not need to remember any numbers as they will only provide a signature when they need to access their money. It is also possible to set up direct debits that can be used for bills so that the person with dementia does not have to worry about making payments.

problems remembering PINs

Giving Money Away Aimlessly

It is also important to talk about dementia and giving money away. Many caregivers agree that some people with dementia become over-generous with their money. Sadly, in most cases, they are victims of scammers.


Unscrupulous individuals may contact the person with dementia requesting donations or offering fake “special deals”.

If necessary, consider changing their number so that scammers do not have access to the sick individuals.

Registering the persons on a Do Not Call registry is also necessary to protect seniors from unwarranted calls.

Frugal with Money

Persons with dementia may start giving away money or spending it on unnecessary things. This is a common issue. For instance, a person may purchase 10 similar outfits or household items they will never use. This can especially be noticeable if a person was previously frugal and their spending habits suddenly change.

For some individuals, the topic of dementia and money obsession becomes apparent. A person with dementia may show strong signs of becoming obsessed with money. They may even accuse caregivers of stealing their cash when this is not the case.

dementia and financial problems

Fake Money

If a person with dementia wants to constantly see their money, and become agitated when they cannot, then carers can purchase fake money and place it in their wallets or somewhere where they can see the cash with ease. This helps to keep them calm and happy. It will reassure them that people are not steeling from them.

In the above scenarios, it is advisable to talk to the affected person about the recent changes in their lives concerning dementia and financial problems.

If this does not sit well with the affected individual, consider asking professionals like an attorney or clergy to speak to them.

fake money for dementia patients

Limiting Access

Limiting access to check books and credit cards can also help limit a person’s access to money so that they do not give it away carelessly.

It is also advisable to appoint a durable power of attorney who will help properly manage finances.

Take note if there is any form of elder financial abuse. This is where other people take advantage of seniors by misusing their money or property. Such cases warrant reporting to the police as well as local Adult Protective Services (APS) organizations.

Signs of Financial Fraud or Abuse

  • Signatures on checks and other important documents do not match the signature of the person with the illness.
  • An individual’s house is under sale or has been sold without them giving permission.
  • The person’s will has been changed without their knowledge.
  • The individual is missing valuable items such as jewellery from their home.
  • The affected person has signed legal papers like power of attorney, will, or joint house deed without knowing what the papers are all about.

Closing Thoughts

After a dementia diagnosis, it is common for affected persons and their loved ones to have to deal with dementia and financial problems. Individuals with the progressive illness need to be given enough support from reliable professionals as well as their relatives or friends to ensure they appropriately manage their finances throughout the illness.


15 Early Signs Of Dementia (Common) 2021

early signs of dementia

Our extensive research and study allowed us to bring you a list of the most common early signs of dementia.

As soon as you observe regular deteriorations in the condition of a person, you should not really wait for too long.

Instead, act as soon as possible and let the person that shows early signs of dementia see a doctor.

(In some cases, it might be just age-related change.)

Still, if a person is developing dementia, you will be glad that it is really early and appropriate treatment CAN apply to slower the condition.

(Dementia does not happen as part of natural aging.)

In this article, we will look at different changes you should pay attention to and what are some of the early signs and symptoms of dementia.

Common Early Signs Of Dementia

To make your lives easier, we compiled what is considered the most common symptoms of dementia especially when in the super early stage.

1. Temporary memory loss

temporary memory loss
Dementia is the term used to refer to a broad spectrum of symptoms that allude to the weakening of the brain affecting its ability to function properly.

Often the symptoms are quite severe and they affect someone’s daily life. It results from damaged brain cells affecting their normal function to communicate and facilitate different activities of the body.

Temporary memory loss which often affects someone short-term is known to be one of the early signs of dementia. It starts with someone who can often recall events that happened a long time ago suddenly not being able to remember what they had for lunch.

As it affects someone’s cognitive abilities, a person with dementia tends to forget any recently learned information. Even things like dates, events or they cannot help but ask about the same thing repeatedly.

Most find that they have an increasing need to depend on memory aids.

2. Difficulty communicating

difficulty communicating
A person with the condition may have a hard time trying to find the right words to piece together a sentence when communicating. It’s because they often can’t remember the names of items, people or places.

They may not be able to hold a MEANINGFUL conversation to the end since most times they tend to forget simple words or substitute the use of words incorrectly making sentences hard to comprehend.

They may also pause mid-sentence trying to figure out the right vocabulary to use.

What’s more, they also find that they are unable to complete a sentence at all. The result is a lot of repetition making them sound like they are babbling incoherently.

It may also be hard for them to understand those around them and this may become disheartening. To help them, you can simplify your sentences or speak a bit slower or perhaps repeatedly in case they still don’t understand.

3. Increased confusion

increased confusion
Confusion is also one of the early indications of dementia. As the brain cells begin to deteriorate, confusion may occur affecting the person with dementia’s perception of time and place.

As a result, they may not know their whereabouts, how they arrived at certain places and they even forget the way home or easily get lost.

Dementia also causes someone to LOSE track of dates, the passage of time and seasons. If you leave someone with dementia alone for a few minutes to them it may feel like a really long time.

It’s worth noting that at older ages it’s NORMAL to confuse time and dates, however, all factors considered this information often aligns.

However, someone with the disorder keeps suffering from forgetfulness regardless of their age.

4. Challenges performing everyday tasks

challenges performing everyday tasks
Difficulty in performing familiar tasks is also one of the early signs of dementia. As a result of the changes brought about by the condition, abstract thinking becomes quite hard.

Moreover, the person with dementia often shows an unusual struggle performing mental tasks.

People with this disease may at many times find it hard to handle regular everyday tasks that they had previously carried out with ease.

For example, organizing events, planning chores or make simple financial transactions like paying bills become more and more challenging due to the significant decline in brain cognition.

Something as simple as brewing a cup of coffee may prove difficult to someone with dementia because it may be troublesome to follow the right steps.

5. Repetitiveness

Due to memory loss, people with dementia often end up repeating themselves or lose their chain of thought when holding conversations.

The frequent repetition of activities, questions or statements is a significant sign of reduced cognition.

Sometimes, weariness or anxiety sparks this repetitive behavior. A person with dementia may not remember handling a certain task or previously holding any conversations.

They may repeat the same question several times even after they’ve been answered over and over again.

This happens when the brain’s cerebral cortex which oversees a wide range of functions such as memory and language is damaged or ceases to perform the way it should.

When it comes to repetitiveness, it is also IMPORTANT to educate children about dementia, so they act appropriately.

6. Rapid mood swings

rapid mood swings
Mood swings are also a part of the early signs of dementia and they lead someone to suddenly respond or react irrationally.

It also elicits feelings of fear, anxiety, depression or irritability especially in situations where remembering things becomes quite problematic.

They may also be easily vexed with their colleagues, with friends, at home or in surroundings where they are out of their comfort zones.

This may be quite challenging for caregivers because the person with dementia may behave differently from their usual selves in ways that are hard to explain.

On the other hand, a person with dementia may also be less emotional than they previously were. Plus, their behavior can change SWIFTLY, resulting in rapid mood swings.

7. Poor judgment

poor judgement
Poor judgment is another hallmark of dementia that at times precedes memory loss. A person with dementia is continually unable to make apt decisions.

They may be unable to make the right call in terms of evaluating the different aspects that should be well-thought-out when making an important decision.

If your kin exhibits a pattern of unmistakably wrong decisions or actions such as driving yet they are unable to determine how fast they should go on a highway, chances are they’re suffering from dementia or a similar disorder.

It may be helpful as you cope to consider dementia as a possible reason for their behaviors that seem beyond their control.

8. Withdrawal

Due to the loss of multiple abilities as sparked by dementia the person afflicted soon becomes withdrawn from friends and family.

They also start to display a general lack of interest in activities that they previously found exciting.

A person with dementia may begin to exclude themselves from social activities, hobbies, or even sports that they once loved.

When they are aware of their diminished capacity to handle daily tasks, they may develop poor self-esteem and end up feeling embarrassed or even ashamed.

It leads most to retreat into isolation.

Withdrawal as a symptom of dementia often hits those who are working the hardest. It affects their productivity leading to a decline in their overall performance.

It throws them into a state of sadness and depression.

9. Problems with coordination

problems with coordination
If recognition and coordination complications begin to take effect and affect someone’s everyday life, it could be an early sign of dementia.

A person with the disorder may be clumsy, unhandy, uncoordinated and heavy-handed.

They are not performing tasks with the same ease as they used to. And this means simple things like walking, not to mention running and cycling.

They may also find it difficult to recognize familiar objects like a pot of coffee, cutlery, a cooker, kettle, toothbrush or toothpaste.

Symptoms of a loss of coordination and motor abilities include shaking, struggling to use a hairbrush or shaver and difficulty tying or untying shoelaces.

If, all of a sudden, a person starts to act awkwardly and it goes on for longer than usual, do not leave it behind thinking it will get better.

10. Inability to adapt to change

inability to adapt to change
Difficulty adapting to change is one of the typical early signs of dementia. The inability to recall people’s names or follow what others are talking about can cause nervousness and fear of new changes.

It makes someone with dementia almost obsessive about sticking to their usual routine. On the other hand, they are shying away from trying out new experiences.

Dementia can also alter the way how a person responds to different environments. They may be frustrated and irritated since they cannot follow what’s happening in unfamiliar places.

Disruptive noise, conversations, large crowds, and movements may be overwhelming for them.

Moreover, they find it even more difficult to comprehend information in such surroundings.

11. Neglecting hygiene

neglecting hygiene
Although dementia effects vary from one person to another, it gradually takes a toll on the afflicted individual.

It prevents them from taking care of their daily responsibilities as their cognitive abilities decline. This eventually leads to poor personal grooming and hygiene. Even those who were previously obsessed with their looks and cleanliness are not spared.

As the illness progresses, someone with dementia often starts forgetting to brush their teeth, change their clothes, shower regularly or even use the toilet.

They may not remember the importance of doing all those things.

Depression from the condition could also cause someone to neglect their personal hygiene. At this point, professional assistance is necessary to help them comfortably cope with the activities of daily life.

12. Misplacing items

misplacing items
Many tend to associate misplacing things with the natural aging process. However, this could be one of the early signs of dementia.

Regularly finding supposedly missing items in unusual spots such as locating the remote control in a shoe rack or missing car keys inside the refrigerator are strong indications of the manifestation of dementia.

A person with the condition may easily forget where they kept items such as books or a wristwatch.

They might end up accusing those around them of stealing or hiding their possessions.

They will also emphatically deny it due to their weak memory function and cognitive reasoning. If these underlying concerns are checked out and treated on time, the effects CAN be cured.

13. Lack of abstract thinking

lack of abstract thinking
While we already mentioned trouble with completing everyday tasks and activities earlier, lack of abstract thinking is another early sign of dementia.

There are loads of simple questions you can ask them or even use while observing a person if you notice any changes.

You might not see it the first time, but if a difference in behavior and action happens regularly, a close watch is necessary.

They might have trouble with the simplest mathematical tasks or providing a summary of the article they just read.

Even when reading the instruction for a new gadget, once they are complete, they are still not really sure how to use it.

They might repeat the reading but the end result stays the same – they are unaware of how the gadget operates. Lack of abstract thinking is especially noticeable with how well they manage their finances.

14. Inappropriate behavior

inappropriate behavior
One of the early signs of dementia is inappropriate behavior. This becomes especially evident if a person was behaving in a certain way for the majority of their time, but then they begin to misbehave for no real reason.

If it happens once or twice, even three times, it might not be too big of a deal.

However, if it becomes their repetitive practice, it is highly advisable to see the doctor as soon as possible. Some of the misbehaving acts could be aggression, both physical and mental, arguing and bickering.

One of them is also inappropriate sexual behavior, but that is something we will talk about more in-depth in a future article.

15. Mixing up time and place

miximg up time and place
Since we already chatted about this earlier, it is worth adding it in its own paragraph. While everyone sometimes forgets about what day it is, even where they are going, it is not healthy if this starts happening regularly.

If that begins to occur TOO frequently, it could be one of the early signs of dementia.

Do observe the person as much as possible. Take them to the doctor as soon as possible if this “new forgetfulness” does not go away. Acting early enough and getting treatment before the condition progresses can alleviate it tremendously.

Also, if you happen to be the person who is sensing something “weird” happening to you, again, see the doctor or practitioner as soon as possible.

13 Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Symptoms 2023

creutzfeldt jakob disease symptoms

Today, we will look at some of the most common Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease symptoms and signs of which you should be aware.

Let’s face it, went it comes to CJD, it is important to treat the condition as early as possible.

If it is your first time hearing of the disease, read along.

First and foremost, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease or short CJD is a destructive brain disorder that leads to dementia and even death.

However, CJD is not that common and affects approximately one person in every one million per year. A person with the disease can die within a year.

First, in the early stages of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a person begins lacking memory, their vision gets blurry and even starts behaving out of place.

But these are just some of the symptoms of CJD. Moreover, when the condition progresses, a person can fall into a coma, get blind, depressed and experiences difficulty swallowing.

In short, CJD appears when prion protein gets damaged and deformed. When healthy, this protein does not cause any inconvenience to the body.

But everything changes drastically when prion does not perform as it should.

The main Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease symptoms

1. Behavioral changes

behavioral changes
Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD) is a deadly neurological disease that progressively destroys brain cells by creating small holes in the brain.

It is known to occur when prion protein that communicates message among different brain cells are damaged.

Once prion proteins are affected, they fold into an abnormal shape and in turn, they don’t function how they normally would.

When it affects the nervous system, someone experiences a series of signs and symptoms that require instant attention and care.

Some of Creutzfeldt-Jakob’s disease symptoms are psychological-based. The person affected by the illness displays a rollercoaster of behavior and emotions due to mental impairment and it gets worse with time.

2. Memory Impairment

memory impairment
When the damaging brain cells appear, the cognitive actions of individuals suffering from Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease deteriorate rapidly.

The affected person develops dementia where their memory becomes problematic and this affects their thinking skills as well.

Since the brain is incapacitated and unable to perform fully, the affected person is susceptible to confusion, disorientation and poor planning because they cannot think critically.

The person is unable to recall any recent events or exhibit general knowledge of simple things related to their surroundings.

It throws them into a state of disintegration and restlessness. With time, it may turn into distress or even depression.

3. Coordination Difficulties (Ataxia)

coordination difficulties ataxia
Difficulties with physical coordination is also another common Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease symptom.

As the illness progresses, the person with the illness develops neuromuscular defects leading to coordination dysfunction, voluntary muscle loss, and lacks of rhythm.

It happens because of the weakening of muscles and muscle mass loss, especially around the arms and legs. As a result, balance and coordination prove challenging affecting the ability to control different body parts.

Overall, it affects how someone speaks and they suddenly develop challenges walking comfortably. The assistance of a caregiver is necessary to lend them a hand to help them move around.

At the later stages, the person with the disease may suffer from the total loss of their physical and intellectual capabilities and they eventually slip into an unconscious state.

4. Slurred speech

slurred speech
Rogue prion protein damages the brain cells, making their communication ineffective. The speech of the affected person becomes incomprehensible and impaired.

They find that they are unable to communicate clearly to those around them or their caregivers. Their ability to express themselves becomes stunted or totally halted.

The reason is that a muscle tone known as hypotonia diminishes and also the tongue muscle weakness. It can even lead to facial paralysis.

When in such a state, the person with the disease may retreat into a state of isolation and despair as a result of the inevitable changes that their body is undergoing.

5. Impaired vision

impaired vision
One of the other Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease symptoms is vision impairment or total blindness. The visual signs are marked by complex visual disturbances, cortical blindness, supranuclear palsies, hallucinations, and diplopia.

When the infectious prion proteins are deposited on the cornea’s lymphoid tissue, which controls the immune response in the eye’s frontal section, the proteins damage the cortical region.

The damage results in poor vision or even hearing or seeing things that don’t really exist.

If the person with the disease develops blurry vision, it is a result of cortical damage and it may trigger discomfort making it crucial to visit an eye specialist for lasting solutions.

6. Increasing Confusion

increasing confusion
Due to memory loss and disturbed cognitive processes, a person suffering from CJD is likely to experience rapid confusion and feel overwhelmed by their current state.

They often acknowledge to themselves that they are unable to live their lives fully as before.

As another common Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease symptom, confusion leaves the affected person frustrated due to visual disturbances that make them unable to recognize simple things like their surroundings or how to get back home.

It causes them to wander around aimlessly and also feel unsafe in unfamiliar surroundings.

People with the disease often lose track of time and seasons so they require full-time care and guidance to handle their daily tasks.

7. Depression and Rapid Mood Swings

depression and rapid mood swings
As a result of the Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease taking a toll on someone battling with the illness, their mood tends to oscillate rapidly.

One moment they are happy and excited and the next minute they are agitated and irritated by their surroundings or situations that they previously enjoyed. The unexpected change sparks frustrations making them lapse into depression and despair.

They also become easily irritable and develop poor personal grooming and a loss of appetite leading to weight loss.

When out of their comfort zones, people with CJD tend to easily become upset. They may also exhibit inappropriate emotional responses like laughing when they receive or relay bad news or crying for no reason.

This may also leave their caregivers frustrated because the person becomes difficult to handle sometimes.

8. Withdrawal

People suffering from CJD tend to isolate themselves and withdraw from family and friends. To them, the usual activities or hobbies that they previously enjoyed no longer excite them.

It often stems from their inability to respond to social cues or the decline of their motor skills which makes them unable to perform or participate in any task.

It makes them feel embarrassed and this results in low self-esteem which makes them prefer to retreat to seclusion.

Also, being unproductive causes psychological distress to the persons with Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease so they choose to be by themselves.

The changes experienced during the course of the illness bring about an overall personality and behavioral change and it is wise to approach the person with the disease with utmost care.

9. Swallowing Difficulties

swallowing difficulties
The diminished performance of different body parts arises when the damaged brain cells stop functioning as they should also affect the muscles around the mouth.

It may make swallowing problematic and this may lead to malnutrition.

For instance, if the swallow reflex or the coordination of the throat muscles are affected, the affected person finds it hard to chew or move food in the mouth while at the pharyngeal stage.

At this stage, the tongue pushes the food back to the mouth triggering the swallow reflex as the windpipe closes briefly.

It poses an even greater risk of choking which could prove fatal. For sufficient nourishment, the caregivers should consider perennial feeding and consult with a physician.

10. Abnormal gait/walking

abnormal gaitwalking
Abnormal walking or gait is one of the other Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease symptoms that are common. It comes about due to the communication breakdown between the muscles and the brain.

As the nervous system is damaged, the body is unable to control intricate synchronized movements affecting normal walking.

Since normal walking requires the collective help of systems that oversee coordination, strength, and sensation, someone with CJD is often unable to sustain normal movements.

Also, the body of the person with the disease is unable to maintain a rigid posture; they experience unsteadiness and difficulty in balancing physical configurations as a normal person would.

11. Issues With Bladder and Bowel Control

issues with bladder and bowel control
When the communication between the brain cells that facilitate bladder and bowel function weakens, it leads to issues with bladder or bowel control.

As a result, someone with CJD may experience instances of uncontrolled urine or stool passage. When the brain cells are unable to communicate on when to contract the sphincter or rectal muscles, urinary or fecal incontinence is inevitable.

It often starts as leakage when passing gas and as the illness progresses the situation worsens. In such situations, the caregivers turn to products like diapers or tiny plugs to handle the situation.

However, if cases worsen or progress medical intervention is necessary.

12. Difficulty Sleeping

difficulty sleeping
While you might not have any of the signs mentioned here, have you taken a look at your sleeping behavior?

Chances are, you are experiencing insomnia and you are not even aware of the consequences it brings.

Indeed difficulty sleeping is one of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease symptoms which you should pay close attention to.

In other words, if you find that sleeping is troubling you and is not as quality as it used to be, you better talk to your doctor for any possible additional examination.

Let’s face it, without a good solid 7-8 hours worth of sleep, the long-term effects on our body can be catastrophic.

13. Numbness

When it comes to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease symptoms, one of them is numbness that can occur in some parts of the body.

Whether it’s fingers on hands or feet or even the whole arm, it can happen that a patient loses a sense of feel.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease symptoms conclusion

As a caregiver or even a family member, you should always pay close attention to all kinds of changes in the body, both physical and mental.

Those small shifts can help take action early enough to prescribe the right treatment and alleviate the condition.

In the majority of cases, we act almost too late, so make sure that’s not you. Let these symptoms help you discovering Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease as soon as possible.

7 End-Stage Dementia Signs in Elderly

end-stage dementia signs

We noticed multiple different end-stage dementia signs over the course of 10 years of our experience with this deadly condition.

This essentially means that the person with the disease and caregivers should start preparing for the affected person’s demise.

It is important to note that the illness affects people differently. Thus, the severity or timings of the end-stage WARNING signs may vary from one person to the next.

After diagnosis, most people will live between 4 to 20 years.

Before their final days on earth, a person who has dementia may showcase several symptoms.

Below we will discuss seven of the most common signs that occur during the last stage of dementia.

Most Common End-Stage Dementia Signs

1. Trouble Communicating

trouble communicating
You will notice that many people with dementia at the onset have a little bit of trouble communicating with others. This becomes WORSE as the years go by.

During the severe/last stage of dementia, the ill person will have significant communication issues. Some only use expressions or words sparingly to express themselves.

Most people do not verbally communicate at the very end. During the later stages of dementia, affected individuals may not be able to understand when other people talk to them.

In the event of no speech, persons with dementia may use facial expressions, body language, or show agitation to communicate their feelings and needs.

2. Health Problems

health problems
A wide array of health problems belong to the category of end-stage dementia signs.

This is where a person with dementia may become frail and prone to illnesses like infections such as pneumonia, pain or discomfort.

UTI’s (Urinary Tract Infections) are particularly common in the end stages. These can speed up the progression of the disease or cause more confusion in the people who have dementia.

Some persons may experience more side effects with the medications they are taking. Health problems may also include problems with vision, hearing, and mobility.

If treatable, any health conditions must be QUICKLY diagnosed and taken care of.

In addition to medication, caregivers should also try non-drug approaches like a massage and other alternative therapies to help offer relief to the persons with the illness.

3. Severe Memory Loss

severe memory loss
When a person with dementia gets to the final stages of the illness, high chances are that they will have SIGNIFICANT memory problems.

They may lose the ability to remember even the most recent memories.

For instance, a person may not recall what they have just eaten or who they were speaking to an hour ago. A high percentage of persons with the illness believe that they are living in earlier times, for example when they were still teens.

This implies that they may start to behave or using words that may not make sense to people around them.

The affected person may also lose their ability to recognize themselves or other individuals close to them, like children, friends, colleagues, and neighbors, etc.

4. Incontinence and Toilet Issues

incontinence and toilet issues
Another example of end-stage dementia signs is toilet problems and incontinence. As the illness progresses, there is a possibility that the person will EXPERIENCE some accidents while trying to use the washroom.

It can be anything from the occasional urine or fecal leaks or a total loss of control when the person needs to use the toilet.

Many factors can cause this, such as:

  • Forgetting where the facilities are or forgetting to visit the toilet in time
  • Constipation
  • UTI
  • Not recognizing the need to use the toilet
  • Prostate gland issues, etc.

To avoid inconvenience, there are many incontinence products that patients with dementia can use.

5. Problems with Mobility

problems with mobility
People with dementia may also experience mobility issues as they go through the last stage of the disease.

Most people will lose their ability to stand, walk or get up from a bed or chair gradually.

At this point, the affected individuals may start to experience more falls.

While not all people with dementia will have mobility problems, the issues may be brought about by dementia, balance problems, medical conditions like stroke, drugs, and the environment, amongst others.

People with mobility problems are likely to DEVELOP other issues, like bedsores because they can sit or sleep in one position for a long time without moving.

When mobility decreases, the person with dementia is also at risk of blood clots and other infections.

6. Problems with Eating and Drinking

problems with eating and drinking
Changes in eating and drinking patterns are also considered to be part of end-stage dementia signs.

Most people will lose their appetite, which makes them eat less. As a result, most people with dementia will lose weight in an unhealthy manner.

Losing weight may have an effect on a person’s IMMUNE system, making it harder for the body to fight off other diseases.

Many people will have a problem with eating and drinking because they develop mouth sores or have problems swallowing.

Swallowing issues arise when a person’s reflexes and muscles cease to function correctly.

7. Loss of Independence

loss of independence
When talking about end-stage dementia signs, it is only right to mention that a person with the illness may lose their independence. This means that they cannot do simple daily tasks on their own.

They have to rely on caregivers to assist with tasks like taking a bath, dressing, walking, eating, brushing teeth and so forth. This usually means that a person cannot live on their own.

A person must get all the care they need so that they do not suffer too much before they exit the earth. If it is NOT POSSIBLE to offer the support that a person needs at home, it is best if they move to a facility that will take care of their needs.

In the end, even though dementia is fatal, most will die of medical complications that are related to dementia.

For example, a person’s death may be a result of aspiration pneumonia or a blood clot as a result of being bedbound and immobile.

Why Do Patients With Dementia Walk So Much?

why do patients with dementia walk so much

We received many messages asking us why do patients with dementia walk so much. Thus we found it necessary to create this in-depth overview.

When looking after a person with dementia, you may notice that persons with the illness may start walking too much.

While walking may not necessarily be a bad thing for a person with the progressive disease, it may at times seem to get out of hand.

Keep in mind that persons with dementia may not have control of their desire to walk about. There are a VARIETY of reasons affected persons may walk too much and some of them we include below.

Why someone walks about?

why someone with dementia walks about

Memory Loss

Dementia affects how the brain works and this may cause a person to experience short-term memory loss.

This means that a person can start walking with a certain goal in mind, but then forget where they were going or even why.

As a result, they can continue walking long distances WITHOUT a destination in mind.

Walking too much does not always happen outside a person’s home. It can also happen in the compound or in the house.

For instance, the affected individual may set off to look for something they think is lost or stolen. They may want to walk for a long period as they search for that particular item.

Confusion about Time

Being confused about time is another reason people with dementia may resort to walking so much.

Some people with dementia may wake up in the middle of the night, get dressed and prepare to start the day thinking that it is daybreak.

Some individuals WILL START walking too much at night because they have difficulties sleeping.

Feeling Lost or Looking for a Person

feeling lost or looking for a person
It is possible that a person with the progressive illness will start walking too much when they are feeling lost or disoriented.

They may; therefore, want to start walking in a bid to identify something familiar. Furthermore, an individual might even start looking for a LONG-LOST friend or relative.

They may not know where to locate the person they are looking for; thus, end up walking about in hope of finding their loved one.

Restlessness, Anxiety, and Agitation

Various dementia symptoms can cause a person with the progressive illness to start walking around. The most common ones include anxiety, restlessness, and agitation.

These can be caused by the changes that happen in the brain.

Some of the symptoms can also be SIDE EFFECTS of medication that a person is taking.

A percentage of people with dementia also suffer from restless leg syndrome. This is a medical condition that gives individuals an irresistible and overwhelming urge to move their legs to stop unpleasant sensations.

The condition makes people want to get up and start walking which mostly happens at night. Feeling anxious can also make a person stand up and walk away because they WORRY about something that is probably out of their control.


Boredom can also make people with dementia start walking. It usually happens when an individual can no longer do fun things they used to do.

This ends up robbing a person of their sense of purpose and SELF-WORTH to some extent. Walking too much may be a way of finding something fulfilling to do.

A person may also start walking about because they have too much unused energy. This is common for persons who engage in limited physical and mental activities.

Reliving Pain

In some cases, persons with dementia walk so much because they are trying to ease their pain or discomfort.

Many individuals resort to walking as a way of trying to escape from their pain. A person may also be responding to an uncomfortable environment that may be either too COLD or too HOT.

Some individuals with dementia may additionally find it challenging to stay in a place that has too much noise; hence, may start walking away in search of a quiet place.

Continuing an Interest or Habit

Why Do Patients With Dementia Walk So Much
Most people with dementia will try as much as possible to relieve old routines after getting a diagnosis.

An example of this is walking.

The affected person may want to be out and about at the same time of the day. For instance, if the individual used to WALK their dog in the evening, they may want to get out of the house at that time.

A person may also want to remain independent especially when they reach a stage where they need assistance with various daily living activities.

Stepping away from their caregivers can give a person a sense of independence.

Closing Remarks

There are several reasons people with dementia will walk so much.

It is important for caregivers to identify what triggers the behavior and come up with EFFECTIVE WAYS to deal with it in a way that will not harm/hurt the person with the illness.

At times, it may be best to let the individual take a walk as long as they are in a safe environment.

This might mean that the individual with the illness may have to be accompanied by a friend or relative.

Sleep Apnea And Dementia- Increased Risk

sleep apnea and dementia

We recently found a study conducted by Monash University that found a connection between sleep apnea and dementia.

Thus, we wanted to look further into it.

To present you with a BETTER understanding of how the two conditions can affect each other.

Does Sleep Apnea Contribute To Dementia?

Led by the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health’s Dr. Melinda Jackson, the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease published the study about the correlation between sleep apnea and dementia.

The findings showed that severe OSA causes an increase in beta-amyloid, which is a protein that accumulates on the walls of the brain’s arteries.

In turn, it INCREASES the risk of dementia.

34 individuals, who had recently been diagnosed with OSA, participated in the study.

12 of them were asymptomatic, meaning that they didn’t display ANY SIGNS that they were suffering from a sleep disorder.

The study used PET brain scans and measurements of mood, sleep, and demographics to explore the associations the brain’s amyloid had on an individual’s health.

The group with OSA recorded higher amyloid burdens and poorer sleep patterns.

Dr. Jackson explained that the discovery would help further research into treatment options for OSA aimed at reducing the risk of dementia.

Yet another study published in 2011 in The Journal of the American Medical Association showed that the link between sleep apnea and dementia is even greater in older women.

298 women, who were an average of 82 years old, had tests done to assess their cognitive function.

The overnight sleep tests monitored aspects like their heart rate, brain activity, respiration, and blood oxygen levels.

The women went through further cognitive tests five years later, and out of the lot, 105 were established to have sleep apnea.

Out of the group with the disorder, 45% suffered from dementia or mild cognitive impairments.

The LACK of steady oxygen flow to the brain stemming from sleep apnea was determined as the precursor to dementia.

Treating Sleep Apnea and Dementia

treating sleep apnea
It is possible to avoid having sleep apnea and dementia problems, by treating the sleep disorder in the first place.

Treatment is prescribed to address the underlying health problems that cause the condition in different individuals.

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a therapy commonly used to treat sleep apnea.

It involves wearing a mask and keeping the airway open during sleep by gently delivering a constant stream of pressurized air.

It is not a viable choice for everyone because some people find it DIFFICULT to use the mask, and therefore, they explore alternative options.

Surgery to remove enlarged tonsils, or shrink or remove excess tissue is another viable option.

Lifestyle changes are highly recommended before exploring any other options.

This includes ADOPTING a heart-healthy diet, sleeping on your side, maintaining healthy sleep habits, managing weight, limiting alcohol consumption, and quitting smoking.

Final Thoughts on Sleep Apnea and Dementia

Several studies have proven that there is a potential link between sleep apnea and dementia.

A combination of mechanisms brought about by the disorder can lead to dementia and other cognitive impairments.

However, it is possible to halt the process of developing dementia as a result of OSA by treating sleep apnea as soon as it is diagnosed.

Bonus: What Is Sleep Apnea?

what is sleep apnea
Most people who suffer from the condition have a form that is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which manifests when a physical blockage obstructs the upper airway.

In fact, estimates have it that about 1 billion people globally suffer from OSA.

Central sleep apnea (CSA) is equally as common, and it signals an underlying issue with the nervous system.

Some people experience mixed sleep apnea which is a combination of OSA and CSA.

A person momentarily stops breathing, for about 10 seconds or more, when the signal instructing the process is held up or if their airway closes.

When the breathing restores, they might take a deep breath, snort, or get roused from their sleep feeling like choking, gasping, or being smothered.

If untreated, sleep apnea can become a gateway to other complications including depression or even heart disease.

It also increases the risk of accidents because a person who suffers from the disorder often feels drowsy during the day leaving them prone to making risky mistakes while working or driving.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

what causes sleep apnea
Several factors contribute to the risk factor of developing sleep apnea in adults including:

  • Obesity
  • Hereditary traits including a round head, thick neck, and narrow throat
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Allergies
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Use of sedatives

Diagnosis of Sleep Apnea

how is sleep apnea diagnosed
An individual who has sleep apnea rarely knows it or can self-diagnose, and often it takes another person to notice the symptoms.

The signs include:

  • Momentary lapses in breathing followed by noisy breath
  • Loud snoring
  • Gasping for air

Some of the symptoms that the person who has the disorder might notice themselves include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia or restless sleep
  • Waking up with a sore throat or dry mouth
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Waking up from sleep severally to go to the bathroom

However, the only way to conclusively diagnose the condition is through a physical examination.

A physician will access an individual’s complete medical history to figure out whether they have struggled with symptoms like snoring or daytime sleepiness for a considerable period.

The doctor also EXAMINES the person’s neck and head looking for the presence of any physical factors associated with the condition.

The process often involves filling a questionnaire to establish a person’s sleep patterns, the quality of sleep they get, and if they struggle with daytime drowsiness.

Tests like polysomnograms, EEG, Pulse Oximetry, EKG, and Arterial Blood Gas (ABG) may also be used to diagnose sleep apnea.

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