Dementia can be a scary word, however, breaking down the mystery of the disease and what we need to look for can help early detection and keep us in control. By putting a plan in place and setting up routines and practices we can support sufferers in the early stages of this disease, helping to maintain their lifestyle for longer.
There are many types of dementia, with the most common being Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for around 60 per cent of cases in older people. However, there is also Vascular Dementia and the less common Lewy Body Dementia. Everyone will experience dementia differently, and each type of dementia will have different effects on the body and mind.
How people around them respond, and their environment are other factors that will impact how well a person lives with dementia. Detecting early signs of dementia and putting a plan of action in place sooner rather than later can help people to manage their symptoms a little more easily.
Early Signs of Dementia
Short-term memory changes – People may start to have trouble remembering recent activities (e.g. what they had for lunch). They might also forget where they placed their items or when they entered a room, for example.
Difficulty with speech – You might notice someone struggling to communicate thoughts properly. They may struggle to get the words out and explain how they are feeling and conversations may start to be trickier for them.
Mood swings – Mood swings and feeling depressed is also common, early sign. There can be personality changes and people can become shy, anxious, and angrier than normal.
Apathy – People with dementia might lose interest in doing things they once enjoyed. They can stop doing their hobbies and don’t feel like doing anything fun anymore. They don’t feel like hanging out with family or friends.
Confusion – They may start to struggle to immediately recognise a familiar face or get them mixed up. They may forget how to do things and misplace items all the time.
Inability to complete normal tasks – Since their cognitive function is starting to be impaired, people living with dementia can often start to struggle to get things done the way they used to. They may have a hard time following new routines or learning new activities.
Not having any sense of direction – Losing a sense of spatial orientation is common in people with dementia; also, not recognizing places they’ve been to or forgetting directions they once knew.
Repeating oneself – Starting to repeat daily tasks over and over again is a sign of dementia. They could also engage in a conversation topic repetitively.
It’s easy for many of these symptoms to be put down as just part of the ageing process and these symptoms will also develop gradually so can be hard to pick up. If you have any concerns then speak to your GP so that help can be given as soon as possible.