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.

12 Beginning Signs Of Dementia 2023

beginning signs of dementia

If you are aware of the beginning signs of dementia, you can do a lot in regards to helping both yourself and your love ones.

Dementia is a general term that describes a decline in mental ability that ends up interfering with a person’s life. Experts link its development to the brain, losing some of its nerve cells, causing the brain to malfunction.

The severity of the illness ranges from early stages, which affect how a person functions to severe stages where an individual loses their independence.

Dementia stereotypically affects seniors who are over the age of seventy, although some younger people may also get it. There are different types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s Disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, and mixed dementia, to name a few.

To confirm that a person has dementia, doctors carry several tests to confirm the individual does not have other illnesses. Dementia medical assessment may include a physical exam, studying the medical history, and neurological examinations.

Medical practitioners will also study the symptoms a person is showcasing to help them come up with a conclusive report. Before visiting the doctor, there are some eye-brow raising signs that a person or their loved ones may notice to indicate that everything is not right.

Below you will find some of the beginning signs of dementia that might tell a person is experiencing the early stages of the illness.

Beginning Signs Of Dementia

1. Memory Changes

beginning signs of dementia
One of the earliest sign of dementia is memory loss. This is where a person begins to forget important things that end up interfering with their day to day life.

At the onset of the disease, the affected individual may find that they are always asking for the same details over and over again. They may also have to rely more on notes that family members and loved ones write.

Many people also experience challenges remembering recent information or events.

Note that occasionally misplacing keys and remembering where you put them does not count as a memory loss issue that relates to dementia. This is because mild forgetfulness is usually a normal part of aging.

2. Trouble Problem Solving and Planning

trouble problem solving and planning
During the early stages of dementia, it is common for individuals to make plans and not go through with them. A person may have so many ideas for the future but does not focus on any.

Someone might not even be able to follow a simple recipe that they have used several times in the past.

During this stage, it may also become increasingly difficult to focus on detailed tasks, especially the ones that involve crunching numbers.

For instance, a senior may find that they can no longer balance a checkbook correctly, manage budgets, or even keep track of bills. One might not even comprehend the numbers and signs on a calculator compared to how skilled they were before.

3. Lack of Enthusiasm for Usual Activities

lack of enthusiasm for usual activities
Lack of interest in things that a person once loved and apathy are among the beginning signs of dementia.

You may notice that your loved one no longer cares about things like woodworking, knitting, or even meeting up with family members for get-togethers. Some will not even want to spend time with their grandkids, an activity they once treasured.

Most individuals who have dementia value seclusion and they want to stay away from other people.

It does not necessarily mean that they enjoy their company. At times, they may feel embarrassed about the changes that are starting to happen in their bodies.

4. Difficulties Completing Familiar Tasks At Work, At Home, Or Leisure

difficulties completing familiar tasks at work at home or leisure
When a person finds that it is tough to finish daily tasks successfully, it may be time to see a doctor for a dementia diagnosis. This is where one might not be able to finish dressing or even make breakfast on their own.

You may find that an individual starts to get into trouble with their boss for tasks that they seamlessly handled before. One might even get into their car and have to rack their brains to drive to a familiar place.

When a person gets together with their relations to play their favorite games, they may suddenly forget all the rules.

5. Disorientation to Time or Place

disorientation to time or place
When you suddenly wake up from deep sleep, it’s usually impossible to determine the location, day, and exact time right away. It is a phase of disorientation that quickly passes and you can get to know the above details.

This is what a person with dementia may experience regularly. Only that the intensity of the disorientation is typically way worse.

An individual may not be able to tell their location or why they are there. They may also not be able to figure out the current season. Some persons possibly will start believing they are much younger because they are oblivious of the passing time.

6. Problems Writing or Speaking

problems writing or speaking
Communication problems are ranked among the beginning signs of dementia. A person who is at the early dementia stages may no longer enjoy holding conversations because they do not flow naturally.

People around them may find it difficult to know what they are saying because words may be strewn all over the place in a way that does not make sense.

They can instantly forget what a person they are talking to has said; hence, not know what to replay. When writing, folks with dementia may perhaps find that their pieces have issues with punctuation, spelling, and grammar.

The illness occasionally affects a person’s handwriting, making it illegible.

7. Visual – Spatial Difficulties

visual spatial difficulties
Among the signs, you should observe when you suspect that a person has dementia is if there are any visual-spatial changes. It is where the elderly face a rough time when it comes to distances and depth perception. This is a sign that mostly affects driving because the driver cannot tell the correct distances.

Recognizing familiar faces or items becomes an uphill task.

Some cannot tell colors apart.

In such instances, a person may be forced to give up some things, like navigating stairs or reading a book because they cannot interpret what they see in front of their eyes.

8. Changes in Behavior

changes in behavior
In addition to being withdrawn and quiet, doctors might also look for changes in behavior as part of the beginning signs of dementia. An individual may go through a wide range of emotions when one second they are happy, and the next they are spewing anger and frustration.

They may, furthermore, develop anxiety and insecurity. Poor judgment can also crop up at this point.

You can observe someone putting daily items in uncommon places. For example, one might put store food in a washing machine and clothes and shoes in the refrigerator.

The person with dementia might also insist on putting on winter clothes during summer.

9. Engaging In Purposeless Activities

engaging in purposeless activities
If your loved one starts to engage in activities with no purpose, it might be an indication that they are starting to develop dementia.

Some of the things that people may do include packing and unpacking clothes, opening drawers without getting or putting anything and shutting them repeatedly, pacing and getting in and out of a door, among many others.

People who do not understand dementia might think that the person has lost their mind.

Experts explain that persons with dementia will act this way so that they can fulfill a need to be busy or do something productive with their time.

10. Loss of Sense of Touch and Motor Skills

loss of sense of touch and motor skills
Many people who develop dementia experience a loss of motor skills. Moreover, a sense of touch is among the beginning signs of dementia.

When it comes to fine motor skills, it is not rare to see a person’s hand trembling in that they cannot do easy tasks like buttoning a shirt or combing hair.

An individual with this progressive illness may also have a difficult time at the dining table because they cannot properly use cutlery.

Note that motor problems may also be an indication of another medical condition such as Parkinson’s disease. It is; therefore, essential to consult an expert doctor to know the illness this symptom is associated with.

11. Paranoia and Delusions

paranoia and delusions
Most people with dementia will experience delusions and paranoia at a later stage.

A small percentage, however, will experience this at the early stage of the illness. The individuals may at first have some suspicions that someone is taking their items or misinterpret the things they hear or see misinterpret.

This can fast graduate to the individual firmly believing that a person is trying to hurt or even kill them.

Additionally, they may also experience hallucinations or hearing, tasting, or smelling non-existent things.

For example, a person might start to hear voices or see the face of a person they have not seen in a while.

12. Lack of concentration

lack of concentration
It is widespread that a person with dementia starts to lack concentration. However, while older people begin to have a decrease in concentration naturally, it does not immediately mean they have dementia.

It is important to observe them over the course of several days, even a week or two, before making any decisions. That said, if you notice that their difficulty with concentration becomes troublesome, you should take them to the doctor or specialist as soon as possible.

The older adult begins to have evident issues with staying focused on a particular task, heck, even memorizing names and other information.

Closing Remarks

It is important to understand that dementia is progressive. This implies that the above symptoms may get worse while new ones may also crop up in later stages. At the onset of the disease, a person may still be independently requiring minimal supervision as they go about their daily life.

As time passes a person with dementia may find that they become increasingly dependent on caregivers.

Worth noting is that dementia does not affect everyone in a similar way. Each person has their unique experiences depending on factors like the type of dementia they have, the support they receive, environment, and personality.

14 Early Onset Dementia Symptoms 2023

early onset dementia symptoms

It is important to know and understand early onset dementia symptoms to act accordingly and see a doctor or a practitioner soon enough.

Dementia describes a syndrome where people experience deterioration in memory, behavior, thinking, and ability to perform daily activities.

Even though it is not part of the normal aging process, it usually affects older people who are above the age of 65.

However, some people will experience early onset dementia where they develop the illness before they celebrate their 65th birthday. Early onset dementia normally affects people who are in their 30s, 40s, and 50s.

Statistics indicate that about 200,000 individuals have early onset dementia. This covers approximately 5% of the population with dementia.

Diagnosis of younger onset dementia can be a frustrating process because most health providers do not look for dementia in younger people.

In most cases, there are usually conflicting reports from different practitioners since we can link the symptoms to stress or other related illnesses.

Dementia also affects people differently whether they are at the early, middle, or later stages. This means that different individuals will react differently and symptoms one showcase may also vary.

Below we look at some of the most common early onset dementia symptoms persons should be on the lookout for. These can help to get the correct diagnosis and treatment.

Common Early Onset Dementia Symptoms

1. Forgetfulness

Forgetting a name, a date or where you placed your keys is a normal occurrence that does not ring any memory loss alarms. With early onset dementia, however, memory loss becomes prevalent. This is where you forget events or people who are an essential part of your life.

At times, you may even get to the kitchen to make your favorite snack or meal and completely forget the recipe. For some people, the route to work may appear strange.

A person can get notices on water and electricity bills even when they have never made a late payment in their life.

2. Feeling Overwhelmed

feeling overwhelmed
Feeling overly overwhelmed is another symptom that you can expect from someone who has younger onset dementia. It is where an individual is constantly nervous or scared about what the future holds.

For some people having to do one additional task from what they normally do, sends their mind on overdrive where they feel extremely overwhelmed.

They may feel like it is not possible to complete a particular task.

One may even feel like they cannot organize their day well because it is just too much to handle.

3. Behavioral Disorders

behavioral disorders
It is not unusual for persons who have younger onset dementia to go through several behavioral changes.

It is where one can experience bouts of aggression and anger towards everyone and everything for no apparent reason. Most people may have negative reactions when someone asks them about their illness or general life questions.

Mood fluctuations are also common where a person may be extremely happy one second and the next tears cannot stop rolling from their eyes.

For a person who knows the affected person well, it may seem like they are a completely different person.

4. Neglecting Personal Care

neglecting personal care
Ignoring hygiene and personal care is another example of early onset dementia symptoms. A person may refuse to take a bath, change their clothes, or brush their teeth. Some do not do this deliberately.

Changes that happen in the brain may lead to confusion.

Perceptions may be affected and water in a bathtub may appear to be the scariest thing that a person has ever seen.

Looking at a mirror might also introduce a sense of strangers in the room. Grooming products in the bathroom may also devastate a PWD (Person with Dementia) reason they “choose” to stay unkempt.

5. Balance Problems

balance problems
Loss of balance can be another sign of younger onset dementia. Individuals with the illness are more likely to face muscle weakness that can affect how a person walks making them susceptible to falls all the time.

Other factors that can cause falls include fatigue, lack of exercise, poor judgment, and restlessness, etc.

This can be dangerous because one might fracture a bone or hip which might mean they have to go in for surgery.

In some cases, this can lead to immobility or it can be fatal.

It is, therefore, important to identify the reason why a person is at risk of falling and ensure you do everything in your power to keep them out of harm’s way. Also, it is advisable to make a dementia-friendly home.

6. Loss of Meaningful Speech

loss of meaningful speech
Problems with language and communication might be an indication that a younger person has dementia.

An outspoken person may all over a sudden come up with empty ideas or utter a few words that make no sense.

Individuals may also find themselves using jargon in a way that no one understands the message they are trying to pass across.

A person’s ability to read may also be affected where they have challenges with comprehension, especially with complex materials.

Writing can also be an uphill task where an individual with the illness cannot write proper sentences.

7. Eating Difficulties

eating difficulties
Eating and swallowing difficulties also count among early onset dementia symptoms. Sensory and motor difficulties often affect how a person eats.

An individual may have difficulties directing a spoon or glass to their mouth. Some people may get food to their mouths but they forget they need to chew it.

Others will lose the ability to tell whether food is hot or and may end up burning their mouths with hot foods; thus associate food with pain.

A percentage of PWD simply lose appetite where they have no mood for eating or drinking anything.

8. Sundowning

There are instances where a person with younger onset dementia will behave out of character during early evenings or late afternoons.

Such people experience sundowning.

Many people during this time will become more confused, aggressive, or agitated. Many are convinced that they are in the wrong place and need to head home.

This usually comes about because of factors like too much or too little light, loss of routine, little sleep, when prescribed medication is wearing off, and lots of noise among many others.

9. Inability to Multitask

inability to multitask
As people age, multitasking becomes a challenge. This is even worse for people who have early onset dementia.

It is because they experience an impaired ability to get back to the original task after a task has been interrupted.

We can also explain this by memory loss where an individual forgets that they are supposed to be handling more than one task.

In line with this many people who get dementia when they are younger than 65 also have challenges completing complex tasks. As time goes by, even focusing on a single task at a time becomes a problem.

10. Difficulties Learning New Things

difficulties learning new things
For most people learning new stuff is an exciting venture. Younger onset dementia takes this away from a person. This is because people with illness often have a tough time processing new information and learning new things.

For instance, in an office setting, employees may have to learn how to use a new computer program or a process that makes work easier.

You will find that the young person with dementia struggles to grasp new concepts and may be among the last people to figure out how the new systems work.

11. Less Desire to Be Flexible

less desire to be flexible
The ability to be flexible decreases highly for a person with dementia. One may want to stick to a particular routine all week. If something happens to upset this routine, trouble sets in fast.

The affected individual may become upset throwing tantrums because things are not going as expected.

This is usually not a normal reaction reason it is important to seek medical advice as soon as you notice someone becomes too anxious or upset when they have to adjust their schedules even when it is only for a little while.

12. Reduced Efficiency

Early Onset Dementia Symptoms
Another sign to talk about when tackling early onset dementia symptoms is reduced efficiency.

The brain does not function normally which means that the affected individual will be slow to process things and they cannot be as productive as they were before.

At some point, someone may lose interest in the things they once cherished because they cannot enjoy the activities in the same way as in the past.

This is one of the things that can lead to social withdrawal because a person feels like they cannot live their lives the way they were used to.

13. Increased Reliance on Family and Friends

increased reliance on family and friends
People with early onset dementia may find that they are constantly relying on other people to help them out. This can happen to someone who was once independent and loved to get things done on their own.

Because of the changes happening to their bodies, they may find themselves in situations where they need help from others because they cannot do stuff on their own.

Caregivers and loved ones need to know how to handle this so that they do not make the PWD feel worthless and too reliant on them because this often leads one to depression.

14. Trying avoiding questions (and conversations)

trying avoiding questions and conversations
It is a pretty common practice if a person who is showing first signs of dementia, that they become exceptionally good at covering for themselves.

Meaning, when someone tries to ask them a question, either they pretend to be busy or flip things around, answering a question with a question.

If this grows to repeated practice, it becomes very evident that something is going on behind the curtains. At least for those who previously never acted like this.

If so, either you try to honestly talk to them or seek help from a professional. When it comes to dementia, the earlier the diagnosis and treatment, the better.

Final Remarks

When you notice that your loved one is showcasing any of the above early onset dementia symptoms, it is important to visit your doctor as soon as possible. Do not ignore them thinking that dementia only affects older people in retirement.

Getting a proper diagnosis early is important because your doctor will advise on how the person with younger onset dementia symptoms will live a full life.

This will help them to remain comfortable while maintaining independence for the longest possible time.

13 First Signs of Dementia & Symptoms 2023

first signs of dementia

If you are aware of the first signs of dementia, you can act early and lighten the effects of the disease on a person.

We can briefly describe dementia as multiple symptoms that affect an individual’s cognitive functioning.

This can alter how a person reasons, thinks and remembers. It is usually not very easy to tell that a person has dementia, especially in the initial stages.

This is because the early signs usually are quite vague and subtle. In some instances, they are almost similar to the effects of aging.

However, there are some that may clearly come out so that you can know when to seek medical attention.

Below we will look at the most common signs and symptoms of dementia you should be aware of.

The most common first signs of dementia

1. Memory Lapses

memory lapses are first signs of dementia
Memory impairment is one of the first signs of dementia. A person with this medical condition will have problems remembering even the simplest things.

It does not have to be something that happened ages ago. The person may forget the information that they have just learned.

While talking to such an individual, you may find that you constantly have to repeat something over and over, and still they do not remember a thing. It is also common to lose track of vital dates, events, and names of loved ones.

At this point, the individual continually has to rely on memory aids such as electronic devices and reminder notes for things that they formerly used to handle easily on their own.

2. Changes in Abstract Thinking

changes in abstract thinking
Challenges with abstract thinking also characterize the onset of dementia. Persons with dementia will often have difficulties performing mental tasks.

For instance, conducting monetary transactions becomes such a huge deal that a person cannot even pay a bill.

Planning tasks, organizing projects and making proper decisions become more difficult. In line with this, a person with this illness may not know the steps to follow to prepare a meal or even put on clothes properly.

You may even lose such a person mid-conversation because their levels of concentration reduce significantly. The individuals may find themselves in danger, for instance, if they are driving and have problems with directions.

3. Apathy

apathy is a first sign of dementia
Apathy is another possible first sign of dementia. While it may be quite normal for humans to “lose their spark” occasionally, a person with dementia may experience a persistent loss of motivation to do anything.

He/she may lack interest in the things that they once found joy in. Apathy is not something that will come and go; once present, it remains persistent.

Apathy may result in a person losing curiosity in new things and even interest to interact with people. It is also associated with unemotional responses to personal events or news.

The Alzheimers Society reckons that about 50-70% of individuals with dementia also have apathy.

4. Rapid Mood Changes

rapid mood changes
It is easy to notice rapid mood swings from a person who is on the initial stages of dementia. Some individuals are prone to serious medical issues like anxiety or depression.

A person with the illness may, at one point, become unusually happy and after a few minutes, they are shedding real tears.

Additionally, people who are aware of their loss of ability to recall memories and information, communicate, and function may go through a wide range of emotions.

These can include frustration, fear, anger, and sadness.

Many people will also develop behaviors that are out of character like acting up in a social setting and becoming highly irritable.

5. A Shift in the Ability to Complete Normal Tasks

a shift in the ability to complete normal tasks
When a person is not able to complete everyday tasks, it may be an indication of the first signs of dementia.

Sometimes, an individual will find it almost impossible to maintain a budget or remember the rules of a game they love to play.

A person may find themselves seeking help all the time when they want to record a TV show or change the settings in the microwave.

An individual may also have a difficult time driving to a location they always go to, say the mall or office.

Sadly, this is something that only gets worse as the disease progresses where a person slowly loses their independence.

6. Confusion

Confusion is another sign to look out for if you suspect that someone is in the first stages of dementia.

A person may no longer be in a position to remember familiar faces. He or she may have faces and names mixed up.

For example, a mother may refer to her daughter as the son and the son as the brother or friend. Naturally, a confused person will not interact with others regularly.

It also becomes very easy for these individuals to lose track of the passage of time, seasons, and dates. They may have challenges understanding why something is not happening on their clock.

Someone can be in their house and have no clue how and why they are in the home.

7. Problems with Words while Writing or Speaking

problems with words while writing or speaking
A classic first sign of dementia is trouble with words during a speech or when a person is writing. Identifying the right words to use on various occasions becomes an uphill task.

Vocabulary also becomes a problem.

Some individuals may even forget the meaning of some words. They may also struggle to follow storylines whether they are talking to a person or watching their favorite TV program.

At times, it may imply that a person has problems with their vision. This can cause an individual not to be able to read well, determine color, or contrast, judge distance, and other related issues.

8. Failing Sense of Direction

failing sense of direction
Spatial orientation and the sense of direction stars to deteriorate when a person first starts experiencing dementia. It can mean anything from forgetting routes that a person regularly uses to failing to recognize familiar landmarks.

This also comes with difficulties following step-by-step instructions or a series of directions.

It is one of the reasons why caregivers must keep an eye on people with dementia because there are multiple cases of wandering and getting lost.

Where possible, the person with dementia should stay in a gated community so that even when they take walks and do not know where they are going, they will not leave the gates of the community.

9. Lapse in Judgement

lapse in judgement
Poor judgment is something that cannot be ignored when discussing the first signs of dementia. This is where a person is not in the right frame of mind to make sound decisions.

They are not able to evaluate the various factors they need to consider to make an appropriate decision.

Note that this is not all about questionable decisions. It is about a noticeable pattern of inappropriate actions and decisions.

An example is a lady or gentleman who is not able to assess safety limits. He or she may want to cross the road on a busy road oblivious of the danger that lays ahead.

10. Social Withdrawal

social withdrawal
Social withdrawal is another sign you can expect from a person with dementia. It is usually most recognizable from persons who have bubbly outgoing personalities.

Such people no longer want to hang out with their friends or family. They want to retreat into a cocoon and stay by alone.

You will notice that such people slowly start removing themselves from social activities, sports, work projects, and hobbies.

Your calls may go answered or they may promise to meet up and not end up fulfilling these promises. Sometimes this is fuelled by embarrassment because they are aware that life is not what it was.

11. Losing Things

losing things
Misplacing and losing things can also count as the first signs of dementia. A person may put simple things like keys or valuables in unusual places and forget where they kept them in the first place.

Putting a remote in a freezer and groceries in the socks drawer may appear normal to an individual with dementia.

This sign goes hand in hand with the inability to retrace steps because a person is not able to go back and find their things again. Every now and then, the affected person may accuse people around him or her of stealing.

Some individuals will get to the extent of hiding things and even get into an unhealthy habit of hoarding.

12. Challenges with Vision

challenges with vision
One of the earliest signs of dementia could be challenges with vision. Of course, it is crucial to understand that vision problems can be due to old age.

That said, do not panic right away. Whether you notice impaired vision or you witness your loved one having issues, do seek a doctor as fast as possible. This is especially important if the person is still driving.

Either way, taking action early enough can get rid of the inconvenience that can occur later down the line. It is important to examine yourself on a daily basis since you can avoid a lot of headaches this way.

13. Poor hygiene

poor hygiene
You know something is happening with your older adult (or anyone else) when they start to neglect personal hygiene.

Of course, this not necessarily means they have dementia. There are all sorts of different reasons why a person might begin lacking hygiene – and dementia sure is one of them.

It is one of the first signs of dementia that you can spot pretty easily, as it is tough to hide it. Even if they do try to hide it, they will typically start to wear a lot of perfume or cologne.

Make sure you are always paying close attention when something unordinary starts to happening and take your loved one to see a specialist as early as possible.

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