11 Early Signs of Dementia

As we age, it is common for some everyday tasks and communication to become more challenging. While it is completely reasonable for an elderly person to sometimes forget a name, the day of the week or an appointment, frequent occurrences of these memory lapses may signal a greater issue. Knowing and recognizing the early signs of dementia are important to understand when you should seek professional help:

  • Memory loss: The most typical early sign of dementia is loss of memory related to people and places, clarity of language, the ability to communicate and the ability to focus and apply reason to a situation or problem.
  • Subtle short term memory change: In addition to more general memory loss, a change in short-term memory ability, such as remembering where you placed your car keys, or why you entered a particular room or why you were making a phone call is a warning sign to pay attention to.
  • Being repetitive: Another form of communication change associated with dementia is repetition. Repeating a phrase, word or entire stories is something to take notice of if it happens frequently.
  • Difficulty with language: The inability to find the right word for a sentence, forgetting the meaning of a word or completely losing words from your vocabulary altogether is something to note if occurring frequently.
  • Following stories: Individuals who may be exhibiting early signs of dementia also have trouble following stories from beginning to end, often asking the story teller to repeat themselves or simply being unable to remember what the story was about.
  • Difficulty with normal tasks: Individuals who have difficulty completing otherwise normal everyday tasks, such as balancing the checkbook or playing a game with a complex set of rules may be exhibiting early signs of dementia.
  • Confusion: An increased sense of confusion, for example, about who people are, where things are located or what why activities are happening is another potential indicator of dementia.
  • Failing sense of direction: Individuals with the early signs of dementia often have a failing sense of direction, for example, forgetting how to get home or to other usually familiar places without assistance.
  • Apathy: Another subtle early sign of dementia is the loss of interest in hobbies or other activities that used to be of great interest to the individual, leaving them listless and uninterested in day to day happenings.
  • Changes in mood: If an individual is exhibiting a noticeable shift of mood, for example: someone who’s normally happy becomes increasingly irritable, or someone who is shy becomes increasingly outgoing. These may be signs of early dementia, especially when they occur with some of the other characteristics mentioned.
  • Unable to adapt to change: A reluctance or inability to adapt to change, such as new routines, new people, or new settings which often heighten the individuals send to displacement and confusion can be a warning sign of early dementia.
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