The most confusing thing about dementia is that it is not actually a disease. It is rather a collection of symptoms which can be caused by many diseases. Symptoms of dementia include impairments in communicating, thinking, and memory. Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia. It can also be caused by brain damage incurred from a stroke or injury, and from other diseases, such as Lewy body dementia.
If somebody in your family is experiencing some troubling memory problems, you might conclude that it is dementia. But, in order to consider a dementia diagnosis, a person needs to have at least two types of impairment which are significant enough to interfere with everyday life. The patient may experience impairments in reasoning, focus, communication, and language, in addition to difficulty remembering.
Short-term memory changes
One of the early symptoms of dementia can be trouble with memory. The changes are usually subtle and tend to involve short-term memory. You grandfather or grandmother may remember years past, but not what he or she had for breakfast. Other signs of changes in short-term memory include struggling to remember why they went into a particular room, forgetting where they left something, or forgetting what they were supposed to do on any given day.
Mood changes are also common with dementia. Even though it is not always easy to recognize this aspect of dementia in yourself, it is easy to notice in a people you love. For example, depression is typical of early dementia. Beside changes in mood, you might also see a shift in personality. A shift from being shy to outgoing is one typical type of personality change seen with dementia. This is because judgement is usually affected.
Apathy is a common symptom of early dementia. You might notice that your elderly is starting to lose interest in activities or hobbies. They may not want to do anything fun or to go out anymore. They may be losing interest in spending time with family and friends and may also seem emotionally flat.
Difficulty finding the right words
Struggling to communicate thoughts the way you want to is another early sign of dementia. This can mean that a person cannot seem to explain some things. They can reach for the right words, but just cannot seem to grasp them. If your elderly has dementia, conversations can become difficult and take longer than usual to conclude.
Difficulty doing usual tasks
A subtle shift in the ability to complete normal task can be an early sign of dementia. This often starts with difficulty doing more complex things, such as playing games which have a lot of rules or balancing the checkbook. Beside the struggle to complete familiar tasks, you can also notice that your elderly struggles to learn how to do new things or even follow new routines.
Difficulty following storylines
If you notice that your elderly has a problem following storylines, it can be due to early dementia. People with dementia have a hard time using the right words and they forget the meanings of words they hear. A classic early warning sign of dementia is a struggle to follow TV programs or conversations.
A failing sense of direction
Sense of direction is a common function of thinking which starts to deteriorate with the onset of dementia. This can mean forgetting regularly used directions and not recognizing once familiar landmarks. It is also hard to follow step-by step instructions and series of directions.
A person in the early stages of dementia can often show signs of confusion. When thinking, memory, or judgment lapses, confusion arises as your elderly can no longer remember faces, interact with people normally, or find the right words. Confusion can occur for many reasons. For instance, trying to remember who someone is, forgetting what comes next in the day, or missing car keys.
Because of general behavioral changes and memory loss, repetition is common in dementia. You might notice that your elderly repeat daily tasks, such as collecting items obsessively or shaving. They may also repeat the same questions in conversations, even though you have already answered them.
Struggle to adapt a change
For a person in the early stages of dementia, the experience is frightening. The person cannot remember people that he or she know or follow what others are saying. The person cannot remember why he or she went to the store and get lost on the way home. For this reason, your elderly might crave routine and not want to try new things. A typical sign of early dementia is having difficulty adapting to changes.