While there are many types of dementia and each person’s symptoms may vary, there are some common signs to be aware of. Many types of dementia are progressive, which means that the symptoms may start out subtly and get worse over time. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these possible signs of dementia, don’t simply ignore them. Consult a doctor as soon as possible to determine the cause. Some conditions that cause dementia-like symptoms are completely reversible when treated, and others have medication available that can slow the progress of symptoms. Early diagnosis provides a patient with the best possible outcome from available treatments. It also provides time to plan for the future if the type of dementia is progressive.
Some of the most common symptoms of dementia include
- Memory Problems and Confusion
Patients with dementia often have problems with their short-term memory. They may have ongoing trouble remembering where they put purses, glasses, keys, or wallets; keeping track of and paying bills; remembering to plan and prepare meals; making it on time to meetings and appointments; or getting lost when out walking or driving. Often, long-term memories remain intact but more recent memory – such as what one had for lunch – lapses. They may find themselves confused because they don’t recognize someone, forget what day it is, or don’t know why they entered a room.
- Language and Communication Issues
A patient with dementia may struggle to find the right words or communicate their thoughts. They often have difficulty expressing themselves or explaining things.
- Deteriorating Cognitive Skills
Patients with dementia often have difficulty with thinking and reasoning skills, impairing their judgement and ability to make appropriate decisions.
- Impaired Visual Perception
Patients with dementia may have problems with their sight which can cause difficulty with interpreting the world around them. Individuals may misinterpret visual cues; experience central vision loss, visual field loss, and eye movement problems; and have visual perception and processing issues. Problems with identifying contrast, distinguishing between colors, following movement, perceiving depth and distance, and peripheral vision are common.
- Trouble with Focus and Attention
Patients who are suffering from dementia frequently find it hard to pay attention and focus on what’s going on around them, including following conversations, paying attention to a movie or TV show, or completing a task. In addition, they may struggle with learning how to do new things or follow new procedures.
- Changes in Mood or Personality
Depression and anxiety are both typical signs of early dementia. Changes in normal mood, including a noticeable personality shift, are not uncommon. For example, someone who was formerly shy may suddenly become outgoing or vice versa. Another common symptom is sudden apathy, where an individual suddenly losing interest in their normal activities or hobbies, spending less time with family and friends and exhibiting little or none of the emotions they formerly demonstrated.
Just because a person suffers from one or more of these symptoms does not necessarily mean they have dementia; however, changes in cognitive function and psychological behavior are clear signals that you should consult a doctor as soon as possible. If the cause is dementia, many types can be slowed or the symptoms reduced, while most others can be managed with a variety of treatment options. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, reach out to the experienced and compassionate team at Specialty Care Services for information about our many care services.