With each passing year, we need to be more and more aware of the warning signs of dementia. Why so? The fact of the matter is, there are more and more people affected by the disease in one form or another.
However, if you act early, you can positively impact the person with dementia and help alleviate the condition. That said, you can discover some of the most common signs that are connected to a person with dementia. But only if you are familiar with them.
Some are pretty basic, almost mundane, but we just do not link them with dementia. Thus, it almost should be part of the general knowledge, knowing what signs to take into consideration. Bear in mind, millions and millions of people are impacted by dementia globally and the number is only to increase year in and year out.
Most common warning signs of dementia
Trouble accomplishing mundane tasks
One of the most common signs of dementia is when one starts to develop a problem completing familiar tasks. For instance, all of a sudden, they start having trouble making a cup of coffee or even bringing a meal to the table. Moreover, they forget how to tie shoelaces or clean the floor. What was once a piece of cake, unexpectedly, a person gets distracted too frequently or completely forgets/ignores the process. When you observe drastic and repeated changes in their behavior, it is very advisable to seek a doctor or a practitioner. Together, you can then investigate the condition further and diagnose whether he or she has dementia.
Trouble Concentrating or Thinking
Concentration and thinking are essential for us to get going with our daily tasks. One of the early signs of dementia is having trouble concentrating or thinking. We can characterize this symptom of dementia when one cannot maintain his focus on one thing or situation at a time. He or she is constantly dealing with “having a million thoughts on one’s mind” at the same time which demands your attention. One might also have an unusual difficulty focusing on or remembering what he just said, the last food he ate or what he was doing just minutes ago. There is also the tendency of forgetting names, phone numbers or what one was just thinking of. Since concentration and thinking are necessary for accomplishing intellectual tasks, losing those will make living life much more difficult than usual.
Poor Short-term Memory
When one thinks of poor short-term memory, Dory from Disney’s Finding Nemo easily comes to mind. The character of Dory perfectly represents yet another one of the signs of dementia. Similarly, a person suffering from dementia may not remember the address of the scuba diver written on the goggles which the Disney characters saw before almost getting eaten alive by an anglerfish.
This symptom can go as mild as forgetting some random events or even romantic conversations with one’s loving spouse which transpired just about twenty minutes ago. There are also extreme cases where one becomes unable to recognize his spouse and whom he starts chasing out of the house for mistaking them as thieves breaking into their home.
Problem Finding the Right Words
Have you ever encountered someone whom when you were having a conversation with but usually utters a lot of filler words instead of articulating their thoughts? How about a person who often says, “It’s at the tip of my tongue.” Or “I know the right word but I just cannot seem to find it.” Having difficulties finding the right words to say is one of the signs of dementia. This is because a part of the memory of a person who has dementia, which is also called semantic memory, is impaired. It leads them to forget a person’s name even if they’ve known them for decades. Once the semantic memory starts to be impaired, the part of the individual’s memory for understanding and recognizing words are similarly affected.
Getting easily distracted is another symptom that is mostly connected to being out of concentration. One who encounters with distractions regularly may experience difficulty meeting deadlines or keeping belongings organized. Being easily distracted is also one of the signs of dementia. If a person usually feels that he is getting quickly irritated with a sudden noise, music or anything that would be considered normal as to others, this circumstance results to making that person inefficient in his daily tasks. Getting easily distracted clearly affects one’s functioning and causes social, academic or occupational impairment. Thus, one feeling this symptom of dementia may find himself overly stressed which may result to behave anxiously.
Do you know someone who is constantly experiencing forgetting things; the location of the object or item her or she is searching for or even where they placed it? Misplacing objects is one of the most recognizable signs of dementia. A person may actually put things in very unusual places, such as remote control in the fridge or wristwatch in the trash bin. If you have someone suffering from dementia at home and he starts hiding things, be cautious of their future activities. Such a person may not even realize that the items are not his nor do they belong to him. People who have dementia are not intentionally trying to hide an important item but because of their mental incapacity, they just do not understand what they are actually doing.
Loss of interest in social activities and hobbies are one of the main outcomes of being unmotivated. Experiencing this sign of dementia lets that person feel that he is losing the meaning of life. He or she perceives that everything that they do is useless. Instead of being the old positive risk taker, this person has now become pessimistic and weak. Being unmotivated occurs when other symptoms severely affect your daily responsibilities. Psychologists have labeled this as having a low level of self-efficacy which is the innate ability to influence the outcome of a project or venture. People who have dementia also tend to forget thinking of long-term rewards and benefits. At the end of the day, isn’t that an essential element of motivation?
It all starts with losing memory, forgetting names and lacking the ability to complete sentences. This leads to confusion that may begin to irritate the person with dementia. It is a prevalent sign of dementia when patients get confused for not knowing where they put keys, their wallet, heck, even shoes. Not just that, it goes so far they do not remember the person they just met. In some instances, they try to fake it, like they know who they are; however, in reality, they have no clue.
For everyone with dementia, it is important to speak openly about their situation, even if it is only about slight memory loss. Appropriate treatment can help alleviate the condition.
Loss of Feeling for a Time
There are occasions when time or the place of their current location confuses people with dementia. We identify this sign of dementia when one usually loses track of dates, seasons, due dates and even the passage of time. They may also have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Thus, they have the tendency to forget what another person just said and act as nothing happened. Worse is, sometimes they may even forget where they are and end up asking the questions, “Where am I?”, “What am I doing here” or even “How did I get here?”. Alternatively, we can also call this symptom as disorientation which may eventually result in having sleeping problems.
Sometimes, a person becomes unnecessarily and extremely withdrawn from his surroundings and the people around him. People suffering from this sign of dementia spend much of their time alone. Besides, even if they are with others, they may not have much of a conversation with them as they feel lonely or bored with engaging conversations. They just do not feel comfortable when people are around them. A person with dementia may find it difficult to initiate a conversation or participate in any social activity. Instead, the affected person may spend much of their time sleeping. They may also seem disinterested if somebody tries to engage them or offer them something to do. They are also more likely to lose interest in group interest, such as playing sports or going out for a movie. Instead, they rather choose to stay alone.
Difficulty Managing Money
Having money problems may be one of the first noticeable signs of dementia. At the early stages, a person with dementia may be able to perform basic tasks, such as paying bills, among others. However, the affected person may have difficulty with more complicated tasks, such as balancing a checkbook. A person with dementia may also have trouble counting changes, paying for a purchase, calculating tips or even understanding bank statements. The person may also not be comfortable, even afraid, when he or she talks about money. Moreover, he or she may sometimes perform unreasonable and unnecessary withdrawals from their bank account. As the disease gets worse, the person may even try to hide his financial problems to maintain his independence from his family and friends.
Rapid Mood Swings
A person who has been diagnosed with dementia can go from good to bad mood pretty quickly. Predominantly every living human being experiences mood swings, some more and the others less regularly. It is hard to feel full of joy all the time, but we definitely need to do something about it when we are down all the time. For a healthy person, he or she can control the mood to some extent. However, when it comes to a person with dementia, their rapid mood swings are uncontrollable. That said, if you are in the company of a person with this condition, their mood swings should not have any effect on you mentally. Keep calm and understand that they are very likely not aware of their temper.