I often hear people joking that they, or their parents, are getting older and starting to forget things. It’s always a nervous joke, because underneath many of us worry that dementia could occur to our family. With prevalence of dementia in seniors as high as 20%, it is a legitimate concern. But dementia can manifest itself in different symptoms, and there is still a lot that we don’t know, making diagnosis often difficult. So here I have put together a list of the most common symptoms. Don’t worry if you or your loved one has experienced one symptom in an isolated incident. If, however, more than one item on the list is a common occurrence and becoming a greater concern, call your physician to get tested right away.
Dementia Warning Sings:
- Forgetfulness: Memory loss and confusion is what we typically think of when we think about dementia. Inability to recall where you went yesterday, or the name of a friend, could be a warning sign.
- Difficulty with regular activities: This refers to very simple activities that you perform every day. For example, having difficulty or experiencing confusion getting dressed, unsure which item in the kitchen to use to cook soup, etc.
- Disorientation: Unsure about the time, place, or date, could be a warning sign.
- Difficulty with speech: If you notice your loved one struggling to find the right word, or using very incorrect words as a substitute, this could be a sign. Perhaps you are also finding their writing difficult to understand.
- Poor judgement: Someone with dementia may often make questionable choices, such as overspending on unnecessary items, or dressing inappropriately.
- Personality changes: This can be the most difficult for a family to understand. People with dementia will experience changes in personality, such as sudden tempers, becoming fearful, confused, and speaking with a different demeanour.
If you are worried that loved one may have dementia, remember to be sensitive as they may not have noticed the changes, and if they have, they probably don’t want to admit to it. The best course of action is to see your doctor first, and get a diagnosis. Don’t feel bad about seeing more than one physician, and doing different tests. Dementia has different forms, and if your physician only runs a test for a specific set of symptoms, it could be missed.