The First Signs of Dementia: Five Things to Look Out For

Developing dementia becomes a real worry for people as they enter their older years, with more and more people likely to get it. According to statistics, around 55 million people live with the condition at present. That’s around the same number of people that live in Italy and only around 10 million fewer than the population of the UK.

As life expectancy increases, more people are going to develop the condition, and it can be important to recognise the signs of it early, to get a diagnosis and the help that is needed to manage it, as well as reduce the symptoms. That can often be seeking dementia care services, or encouraging activities and exercise to engage the brain and movement. But what are the early signs that may help decide it’s the right time to see a professional?

Memory loss beyond usual forgetfulness

We can all forget things from time to time. After all, who hasn’t locked themselves out of the house or forgotten the name of someone and had a very awkward conversation. However, if this is happening more and more commonly then alarm bells could start to ring, particularly if these lapses in memory are interfering with daily routines and life.

People who do suffer in the early stages of dementia often struggle to recall recent events, important dates and miss appointments. Note taking and heavily relying on those can also be common to try and compensate for memory difficulties. 

Difficulty with everyday tasks

Dementia can impair the ability to perform everyday tasks. Independence is often challenged in the early stages of dementia, right through to the latter stages of it, which can have significant mental health impacts. Things like following a recipe, managing finances or anything that requires problem solving skills can become more frustrating.

Naturally, this may mean they need more and more help to go about their daily lives, and in which case it could be time to start thinking about a diagnosis.

Changes in communication and language

One sign that can be easily spotted is certain difficulties with languages and communication. Things like struggling to find the right words, repetition and finding it tough to follow conversations are all noticeable signs, as well as them struggling to understand instructions.

It may be that there’s also a change in writing skills, such as more frequent spelling mistakes in letters or finding it more difficult to compose sentences. 

Mood and Personality Changes

Uncharacteristic changes are also something that is noticeable among loved ones. Irritability, agitation and becoming more withdrawn are all common traits in the early stages of dementia. Alongside this, there may be a lessened interest in activities they once enjoyed. Often this can be confused for symptoms of stress or depression, but it may not be, highlighting the importance of getting assessed by a healthcare professional.

Confusion and Disorientation

Among the hallmark symptoms of dementia is confusion and disorientation, especially in unfamiliar surroundings. People may struggle to recognise faces or places, sometimes even in their own home. It may be that you notice them getting lost in familiar surroundings, in which case it can be a really good idea to visit a professional and ensure that they get the help they need.

Of course, just because a person is experiencing one or more of these signs, it doesn’t mean they have dementia. There are many other factors that can contribute to such cognitive decline, which is why it’s important to speak to a doctor, get them assessed and make the best decisions for their health.

Tatiana Rehmova

A glass half-full kind of a girl and a believer that everything happens for a reason, Tatiana works in Media Relations and is the Content Producer. She loves writing, spotting inspiring stories, and building meaningful relationships.