Dementia occurs when the brain is damaged by a disease such as a series of strokes or Alzheimer’s disease, and vascular dementia to name a few. It is an umbrella or overall term to describe a various range of symptoms affecting the decline in brain memory. It has no one singular warning sign and it also depends on which part of the brain is being affected. Short-term memory problems with difficulty concentrating, then gradually worsening, may be a cause for concern.
Dementia is experienced differently depending on each person’s unique disposition. It affects people differently especially depending on the stages of their dementia. How well someone can live with dementia depends on how other people respond to them and the environment surrounding them.
Early signs of Dementia should not be taken for granted. Simple things such as forgetting to switch the oven could be an early sign that there is an early neurodegenerative condition. Apart from memory problems, other symptoms of dementia include reduced concentration, increased confusion, loss of ability to do everyday tasks, personality or behavioral changes and depression. A person with dementia in the later stages may also exhibit physical symptoms like weight loss or muscle weakness, and changes in the sleeping pattern. In the later stages of dementia, more support will be needed to carry out daily activities
How one gets dementia?
Studies found out that 1 person every 3 minutes is being diagnosed with dementia. Dementia affects people over the age of 65 or one in 14 people in this age range. Certain types of dementia are inherited as a single gene and people with one of these genes usually acquire dementia before they reach 65.
Dementia happens slowly, therefore people may not notice that something is already happening to their loved-one. It is not immediately obvious, and the early signs of dementia are sometimes vague and subtle. These changes may be small to start with, but for those with dementia, their daily lives are affected, therefore the concern has become severe.
Checklist for Early Warning Signs of Dementia
If a person has become a bit more forgetful, this does not indicate dementia. However, being aware of the signs of dementia help address matters accordingly. Below is a checklist of the early warning signs of dementia both cognitive and psychological changes.
It is normal to forget some information then remember them later, however, one with dementia more often forgets things—and worse, not remember anything at all. Memory loss disrupts daily life, forgetting important dates or events or asking over and over for the same information.
Confusion in a new environment or disorientation
A house of a relative where the layout has been changed or different from the normal could be a good way to test the orientation and memory of a person. A person with dementia undergoes confusion with time and place, having trouble understanding that something is actually happening, as well as forget how they arrived in a particular place.
Difficulty doing tasks
When there is an occasion like Christmas, and one forgets the order of how to cook food, that is a warning sign. A person with dementia may undergo struggle in doing all the steps involved of a certain task like preparing a meal. Others tend to have trouble driving to a familiar place or managing a budget.
Poor or decreased judgment
Decision making is very important especially in doing activities that involve the skill of good judgment. Difficulty in making appropriate decisions even on simple matters like what to wear or eat is a sign that this ability has been affected by dementia.
Problems with using words when writing or speaking
A person with dementia tends to use inappropriate words to substitute the simple words that s/he forgets, which make the information difficult to understand. This also leads to having problems understanding what others are saying. He or she may have trouble joining and following conversations.
A person can misplace a key or wallet temporarily, however, one with dementia may not know what that key or wallet is for. He or she may put things in unusual places, therefore, having difficulty retracing their steps. Sometimes they accuse others of stealing or taking things away from them, which in turn may cause trouble.
Abstract thinking or problem-solving challenges
Financial management can be difficult. However, with dementia, the problem on what numbers are for or what they mean occurs. A person may experience changes in their ability to work with numbers or follow a plan missing out or losing track of their monthly bills.
Loss of initiative
A person may have been enjoying doing certain activities. But, due to dementia, one loses interest. Cues must be involved such as relevant things to prompt and help them remember. When this happens, a person with dementia may start to remove themselves from social activities, sports, projects, and hobbies.
Trouble understanding spatial relationships and visual images
When driving a car, a person with dementia may have difficulty judging direction or distance. Others have problems determining contrast or color.
Changes in Behavior and mood
Rapid mood swings occur to a person with dementia. Varying behavior or personalities are manifested such as being more outgoing or becoming disinhibited, withdrawn causing depression. Others become suspicious, agitated, anxious, paranoid and fearful. One may become upset with no reason when surrounded by friends, or at home or work. With some types of dementia, the person may strongly believe things that are not true or having delusions in some aspect. The person may also have visual hallucinations, seeing things, which are not really there.
Dementia is progressive, this means that over time, symptoms gradually get worse. It is not easy to discuss with a loved-one about their condition. But, you may seek help caring for someone with dementia, if you notice any changes in them that give you concern. Behavior that is out of character, forgetfulness or confusion, do not hesitate to reach out. Moreover, if you or your love-one are experiencing the signs and symptoms, make sure to look for the right people and seek out a professional Dementia in home care agency.