Detecting Early Stages and Signs of Dementia

Recognizing early signs of dementia is often difficult. Early diagnosis is important however, for the earlier dementia is diagnosed by a physician the more treatable it may be. The difficulty with diagnosing dementia is many of the early stage signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s are similar to normal aging. These signs can also be stress related or brought on by depression. To be familiar with the differences between normal memory loss associated with aging, and memory loss caused by dementia is important. While dementia is not a disease in itself, it describes a group of symptoms often associated with a disease or condition, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

A preliminary assessment can determine orientation to person, place, and time. Standard questions asked are: “What is your name?” “Where are you?” and “What time is it?” Although common in health care practice, these questions are not sufficient to determine dementia. Close family members, who know the loved one well, are often better equipped to determine if the persons’ orientation is “normal” for them. Sometimes family may be in denial, believing what is not normal to be normal aging. For these reasons we recommend family accompanying their loved ones to the physician. Below is a list to help you to recognize the early stage signs of dementia. Patience and a caring spirit are always best for you and your loved one.

If your loved one has any of these signs it is best to talk to your physician.

  • Memory loss is the most common sign of dementia. Occasional memory loss may be a normal part of aging, but memory loss that is frequent and disrupts normal living is not. For example; if someone cannot remember the names of those closest to them, or where common things are located.
  • Difficulty with familiar everyday tasks can be a sign of the early stages of dementia. This can include having trouble with personal care, cooking, cleaning, or using the telephone.
  • Language difficulties may develop as an early warning sign of dementia. Showing difficulty in finding the right words, participating less in conversations, and having difficulty saying what is meant can all be language and communication issues related to dementia.
  • Disorientation with familiar surroundings, such as in their own neighborhood or home, is often caused by a dementia related condition.
  • Abstract thinking and solving problems may become difficult or impossible with dementia. They may have trouble following a recipe or keeping track of monthly bills.
  • Poor decision making and lacking sound judgment even when the correct choice should be obvious is a sign. For example, choices such as lack of warm clothing in the snow.
  • Misplacing things by putting them in inappropriate places is a common sign. Such as putting the telephone in the refrigerator.
  • Changes in mood, behavior, or personality, is a common, and challenging sign of dementia. They may become depressed, anxious, frightened, irritable, or even aggressive. 

Coffee and Conversation with Abundant Blessings Homecare

Here is a video we put together to help anyone who is trying to detect the early stages and signs of Dementia.