Dementia is a decline in cognitive abilities that is far more than can usually be expected from normal aging, which could negatively impact a person’s memory, language, attention span, and problem solving abilities. Though generally thought of as incurable (as of now only about 10% of dementia cases may be reversible with treatment), detecting early dementia signs can be vitally important if one is to have any chance of arresting or reversing the mental deterioration.
Early signs can be very subtle, even vague and imperceptible, and so may be difficult to spot.
Here are 10 possible dementia signs that could be a warning of things to come
1. Recent memory loss is usually the first among the signs that could be a warning – forgetting appointments, names of colleagues, familiar phone numbers etc. While most of us will forget these things from time to time, we will recall them in time. With dementia, the forgetting may be more frequent and recall may be absent.
2. For years a person may have been heating their cup of coffee in the microwave for precisely one and a half minutes, yet suddenly one day there is no recollection of how to operate the microwave. Such difficulties performing familiar and routine tasks could be one of the dementia signs.
3. Frequently uses phrases and common words may fail those with dementia; their language may become somewhat garbled, and difficult to understand.
4. If one day, a person finds themselves on a street near their own house, being unaware of how they got there of how to get home, using the same road they have taken a thousand times before, or there is disorientation of time, such as day of the week, date etc., then these could be a sign.
5. Poor or decreased judgement is one of the many dementia signs – being unable to gauge how much to turn the steering wheel to correctly negotiate the curb, and other problems with judgment can place not only the dementia sufferer at risk but also others around them
6. Problems with abstract thinking are another one of the dementia signs – they could manifest in being unable to perform tasks easily performed earlier, such as balancing a check book, making calculations and so on.
7. Repeatedly misplacing things – like putting the milk in the wardrobe and the wallet in the fridge and then being unable to find repeatedly misplaced items are frequently seen dementia signs. While we all may misplace things from time to time, the difference is that we can find them in the end, and we probably won’t keep doing it again and again.
8. We all have the blues every now and again, but rapid mood swings for seemingly no reason, feelings of suspiciousness, confusion and withdrawal may be a sign that warn of mental decline. A vivacious, gregarious person can change; may become suspicious, asocial, and fearful and may even withdraw from social contact that they were used to enjoying before. Conversely becoming over familiar or too friendly may also be dementia signs to look out for.
9. Changes in personal hygiene, dressing inappropriately for the weather or the occasion, could also be warning signs to look out for.
10. A sudden loss of initiative in a person who earlier exhibited fine leadership qualities or indecisions in a person who was able to take quick decisions earlier may also be dementia signs.