According to the World Health Organization, 55 million people are living with dementia today. And another 10 million new cases are diagnosed each year. But that number is probably a low estimate.
There are many reasons why this is the case, but one of the most prominent is that dementia is often not recognized for what it is. Rather than a single disease, it’s a broad term that describes a variety of symptoms. And because it can take many forms from one patient to the next, it’s important to recognize and watch for the early warning signs of dementia.
If you suspect a loved one may be experiencing the early stages of the condition, here are some key dementia signs to be aware of.
1. Short-Terms Memory Issues
One of the best-known symptoms of dementia is struggling with memory and short-term memory in particular. An individual may be able to remember events that happened years ago, but not recall what they had for breakfast that morning.
Forgetting where they put items, why they entered a particular room, or what they were supposed to do on any given day are all warning signs to watch for.
2. Struggling With Language
Another common warning sign to watch for is difficulty communicating. Often, individuals with dementia will have a hard time articulating their thoughts or finding the right words when they need them.
This can make communicating with a person who has dementia difficult. They may stop in the middle of a sentence or become frustrated by their inability to express themselves.
3. Unpredictable Changes in Mood
Shifting moods are common with many forms of dementia and are often one of the first symptoms that others will notice. Depression, for one example, is typical in those early stages.
Other times, an individual may become more fearful and anxious than they were before. Shifts in routines may cause duress or agitation.
These shifts in mood and personality are one of the main reasons loved ones may struggle with caring for the elderly. When this situation arises, elderly home care may become a necessary part of dementia treatment.
4. Recurrent Listlessness
Listlessness is a major warning sign in dementia patients. A dementia patient will often lose interest in hobbies or activities that they used to enjoy.
It’s also common to lose interest in spending time with friends and family. And experiencing the depression that tends to accompany dementia can exacerbate this issue.
5. Difficulty Completing Tasks
A shift in a person’s ability to complete tasks is a major warning sign. Particularly for routine tasks they’ve done for years like balancing a checkbook or the like.
This will tend to manifest with complex tasks first. Keeping track of bills or playing games with a lot of rules will become difficult. But as the condition progresses, it will start to affect basic tasks as well as their ability to learn new routines.
Watch for These Early Warning Signs of Dementia
There is no cure for dementia. However, if it’s diagnosed early, dementia care like medication and cognitive therapies can slow its progression.
That’s why it’s so important to be on the lookout for the early warning signs of dementia. The sooner a loved one can enter treatment, the higher their quality of life can be in the long term.
It’s also important to remember that dementia isn’t the only cognitive condition that can affect a loved one as they age. To ensure you’re always up to date on emerging medical knowledge, be sure to follow our latest health news.