Early signs and symptoms of dementia
Early signs of dementia include
- memory loss, especially problems with memory for recent events, such as forgetting messages, remembering routes or names, and asking questions repetitively
- difficulties with tasks and activities that require organisation and planning
- confusion in unfamiliar environments
- difficulty finding the right words
- difficulty with numbers and/or handling money in shops
- personality and mood changes
- depression can be an early sign
Short-term memory changes
Memory is the ability to remember things. Loss of short term memory is usually the first noticeable sign of most types of dementia. Memory loss may manifest in a number of ways. People with dementia may find it hard to remember appointments, or remember if they have paid their bills. A person may ask the same question repeatedly over hours or even minutes having forgotten they asked previously. People often employ coping strategies such as making notes and using diaries and calendars to keep track of events. The person with memory problems may be increasingly reliant on friends and family to remind them of appointments and tasks that need to be done. Recall of events from many years ago is not typically affected in the early stages of a dementia.
In the early stages of a dementia most people can manage their daily tasks and finances although they may occasionally need some help. Several legal measures exist to help protect people who suffer with dementia. It is advisable to make decisions about plans to deal with finances and related decisions as soon as possible for peace of mind. Click here for more information on this including power of attorney.
Personal safety is also very much at risk, especially for those who smoke or cook. Even simple things like dressing become difficult. The stress upon carers is enormous, as it becomes difficult to leave someone alone for even a few minutes. Unfortunately, dementia is a progressive condition and will slowly worsen. The illness cannot be halted or reversed. Most studies have shown people to live for 5–10 years after being diagnosed. However it really is impossible to make firm predictions in individual patients after an earlier diagnosis of dementia is made. Prognosis depends on the stage of dementia and the severity related to this which is assessed in a memory clinic.
Below are examples of how memory problems might present:
– misplacing personal or household items
-forgetting appointments or important dates
-leaving water taps running
-leaving the front door open or unlocked
-going upstairs only to forget what for
-returning from the shop having forgotten various items
-Losing the thread of a conversation
-Forgetting people’s names
-Forgetting to take medication or taking it twice