If you suspect that a loved one has dementia, it is normal to ask several questions including is lack of concentration a sign of dementia?
According to Healthline, when a person cannot concentrate, it means that they cannot focus on a task, think clearly, or even maintain attention.
This normally affects a person’s performance at school or work.
Inability to concentrate can be caused by a variety of reasons including but not limited to:
- ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
- Concussions or head injuries
- Alcohol use disorder
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Restless leg syndrome
- Cushing syndrome
- Mental disorders like schizophrenia
- Depressive disorder
- Side effects from medication
How to Tell a Person has been affected by Lack of Concentration
Not being able to concentrate affects individuals differently.
Some of the common signs a person may showcase include:
- Having a hard time sitting still
- Inability to remember something that has occurred a few moments ago
- Lacking the mental or physical energy to concentrate
- Losing things frequently
- Lack of focus
- Making careless mistakes
- Inability to perform complicated tasks
- Inability to make decisions
People with dementia may also struggle with a lack of concentration making it one of the warning signs of the progressive illness.
It mostly happens in the early stages of the illness through to the mild and moderate stages.
As the disease progresses, the attention a person gives to a conversation, topic, or goal-oriented task like counting money correctly or cleaning the kitchen decreases.
Initially, individuals with dementia may appear to be distracted when doing tasks they once handled with ease.
This can be anything from planning a family trip or completing their favorite puzzle.
As the disease continues to progress, affected individuals may find it challenging to complete simple day-to-day tasks like making breakfast or even dressing up properly.
Care Giving Tips for Concentration
To date, scientists have not yet discovered a cure for dementia.
However, it is possible to deal with some of the symptoms that people with dementia showcase to help them lead more quality lives. Homewatch CareGivers recommend a variety of cognitive exercises that can help individuals with their ability to concentrate.
This is helpful for everyone who is asking if lack of concentration a sign of dementia? Some of the exercises that can improve the concentration levels of a person who has dementia include:
Creating a Set of Opposite Cards
Carers can help persons with dementia by creating cards with images of opposites. For instance, one card can have an image of ice while the other can have one of fire.
Another set can have salt and sugar and so forth. Shuffle the cards and lay the images on a table ensuring that the person can see the opposites.
The individual with dementia should be asked to try and match the images with their opposites.
Caregivers can also create a set of shapes and heart cards. Set the cards on the table and let the individual with dementia study the location of the cards.
Turn them upside down and ask the person to find matches based on their memory of the location of the cards.
While engaging in these activities, caregivers need to monitor the amount of time their loved ones spend on the activities before something else distracts them.
The primary aim of the exercises is to improve if not maintain the concentration times. At times, caregivers may be forced to redirect the person with dementia to help them focus on a single task.
Remember to use persuasive language and a calm tone so that they do not feel like they are being pressurized to do something.
Caregivers can offer to explain the activity again for clarification or restate the previous directions.
How Doctors Diagnose Lack of Concentration
If a person is not too sure they are experiencing a lack of concentration a visit to the doctor can help with the diagnosis.
The professional can carry out a range of tests to find out if a person is indeed suffering from a lack of concentration and whether dementia is behind this.
Some of the tests physicians conduct include:
- Blood tests
- CT scans
- EEG (electroencephalography): this measures the scalp’s electrical activity
Doctors normally start by gathering information about a person’s health history while discussing how they are feeling.
The physician may ask a couple of questions such as when the individual first noticed the changes in concentration levels and whether the concentration is becoming better or worse.
Doctors may also review any supplements, medications, and herbs that a person may be taking to determine if they are negatively affecting concentration.
If there are some drugs causing a lack of concentration the doctor may change them.
Keep in mind that diagnosing the inability to concentrate may require more evaluation and time.