Five early signs of dementia to watch out for
According to the World Health Organization, there are close to 10million new cases of dementia worldwide each year.
The unfortunate fact is that, as loved ones get older, dementia is something we need to learn how to spot as soon as possible.
That way, we can ensure they have the best care and quality of life from the very beginning.
As Dementia Action Week draws to a close, Luca Rado, co-founder of The Live In Care Company, has shared five early signs of dementia to look out for.
Even though memory loss is perhaps the most obvious symptom, don’t forget that memory can also naturally get worse the older we get, so watch out for other symptoms too.
Luca said: ‘This is probably the most well-known symptom of dementia. For instance, they may forget to lock the front door or turn off the oven. They may lose things more frequently and forget someone’s name.
‘Memory naturally worsens as we age, so it is important not to jump to the conclusion that the person with memory difficulties has dementia.
‘Often someone with dementia will not just show memory difficulties, but they will also have additional symptoms from this list too.’
Difficulty performing basic tasks
It’s not a good sign if someone close to you is struggling to do basic things they used to be able to do perfectly well.
‘You may notice that someone is struggling with tasks that they used to have no difficulty with previously,’ Luca said. ‘This may be something such as maintaining their personal hygiene or cooking a meal.
‘When someone loses the ability to perform basic tasks that they used to perform well, this can sometimes be a sign of dementia.’
It’s one thing to stumble over your sentences now and again, but watch out for people who seem to be struggling to keep up with the conversation.
‘This can be with both speech production and understanding,’ explained Luca.
‘You may find that someone is struggling to follow a conversation or is repeating themselves often. In some cases, people may struggle to name items correctly or may forget the word that they are looking for.’
A person being unsure of where they are in space and time even in familiar places can be another early warning sign
Luca said: ‘Getting lost when outside the home in a familiar place can be a warning sign for dementia.
‘As can being disorientated to the time, day and date. If someone misses appointments and social events this can be a sign that they are not orientated to the correct date.
‘If dementia is more severe, then the person may find themselves being disorientated within their own home or being unsure of whether it is night or day.’
Apathy is another symptom to keep in mind, but remember that it could also indicate that your loved one is suffering from poor mental health rather than dementia, so again, be careful not to jump to conclusions.
‘A person with dementia may become very passive, sitting in front of the television for hours, sleeping more than usual, or may lose interest in hobbies they were previously fascinated by,’ said Luca.
What do you do if you think a loved one has dementia?
If you’re worried someone you care about could be displaying dementia symptoms, you should get them to go with you to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Luca explained: ‘There is no one set test for dementia. Usually testing for dementia involves a variety of different professionals and investigations, doctors may want to know more about a patient’s medical history, neurologists will want to conduct brain scans and cognitive testing is often requested.
‘No matter the outcome, your loved one’s wellbeing, happiness and comfort will be at the core of the care, and trained live-in carers or visiting professionals can support you to make the patient as content and safe as possible.’
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