Tags: dementia | warning | signs | forgetfulness | memory | tasks | difficulty

Don't Ignore These Early Warning Signs of Dementia

woman slapping forehead because she forgot something

By    |   Tuesday, 28 November 2023 05:51 PM EST

Forgetfulness is common, but if persistent difficulty with memory and performing everyday tasks is making life challenging, it may be a sign of something serious. It may signal the onset of dementia.

According to AARP, dementia is an umbrella term for changes that occur in the brain that interfere with daily functioning. It can diminish focus, memory, attention, language skills, problem-solving and visual perception. Dementia can also lead to personality changes and make it difficult for sufferers to control their emotions.

There are several forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and Lewy body dementia.  Frontotemporal disorder, or degenerative damage to the brain’s frontal and temporal lobes, is the most common cause of dementia in people under the age of 65. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that there are 6.7 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia overall.

If someone is exhibiting early signs of dementia, it is important to seek out medical help to rule out several treatable conditions, like a vitamin deficiency or infection, that can cause dementia-like symptoms.

The Alzheimer’s Association suggests consulting your physician if you notice any of these 10 early signs and symptoms of dementia.

  1. Difficulty solving problems and everyday tasks. Some people with dementia may find it hard to follow a plan or work with numbers. For example, they may have problems following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. It also could take them much longer to perform these tasks.
  2. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s disease, especially in the early stages, is forgetting learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events, repeating the same questions over and over, and increasingly relying on memory aids such as notes or electronic devices.
  3. Familiar tasks become challenging. Trouble driving to a familiar location or remembering the rules of a favorite game could occur.
  4. Confusion with time or place. People living with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons, and the passage of time. Sometimes one will forget where they are or how they got there, or even what day of the week it is.
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. Some people experience vision problems with Alzheimer's disease, which makes it difficult to balance or read. A person with dementia may also have trouble judging distances and determining color or contrast, which makes driving challenging.
  6. Face new challenges speaking and writing. The Alzheimer’s Association says that some individuals with Alzheimer’s disease may have trouble following or joining a conversation.
  7. Misplacing things or putting them into unusual places. A person living with Alzheimer’s disease may misplace objects be unable to find them. They may often accuse others of stealing from them.
  8. Lack of judgment. Individuals may make bad decisions or even forget to keep themselves clean and appropriately dressed.
  9. Personality changes. According to AARP, a loved one may begin acting unusually anxious, confused, fearful or suspicious. Withdrawal from social activities and work, and isolation from other people can be an early warning sign of Alzheimer's disease, says Healthline.
  10. Apathy. A sudden loss of interest in friends and family, work and social events is a warning sign of dementia.  A 2023 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that apathy may be a sign that someone is progressing from mild cognitive impairment — symptoms of memory loss or thinking problems that are not as severe as dementia — to Alzheimer’s disease.

It pays to be on the alert because early detection means early intervention which can help the delay the progress of dementia.

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Forgetfulness is common, but if persistent difficulty with memory and performing everyday tasks is making life challenging, it may be a sign of something serious. It may signal the onset of dementia. According to AARP, dementia is an umbrella term for changes that occur in...
dementia, warning, signs, forgetfulness, memory, tasks, difficulty, confusion, apathy, personality changes
Tuesday, 28 November 2023 05:51 PM
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