The Beacon

Ten Warning Signs of Dementia

July 17, 2019
Ten Warning Signs of Dementia

Below is a checklist of common dementia symptoms. If there are several that you answer “yes” to, a doctor should be consulted for a complete examination.

  1. Recent memory loss that affects job skills:
    1. It is normal to forget meetings, colleagues’ names or a business associate’s telephone number occasionally but then remember them later.
    2. A person with dementia may forget things more often and not remember them later.
  2. Difficulty performing familiar tasks:
    1. Busy people can be so distracted from time to time that they may leave the carrots on the stove and only remember to serve them when the meal has finished.
    2. A person with dementia might prepare a meal and not only forget to serve it but also forget they made it.
  3. Problems with language:
    1. Everyone has trouble finding the right word sometimes.
    2. A person with dementia may forget simple words or substitute inappropriate words.
  4. Disorientation of time and place:
    1. It is normal to forget the day of the week or your destination for a moment.
    2. People with dementia can become lost on their own street, not know where they are, how they got there or how to get back home.
  5. Poor or decreased judgment:
    1. Dementia affects a person’s memory and concentration.
    2. This in turn affects their judgment. Many activities, such as driving, require good judgment. When this ability is affected, the person will be a risk, not only to themselves, but to others on the road.
  6. Problems with abstract thinking:
    1. Balancing a checkbook may be difficult for many of us.
    2. Someone with dementia could forget completely what the numbers are and what needs to be done with them.
  7. Misplacing things:
    1. Anyone can temporarily misplace a wallet or keys.
    2. A person with dementia may repeatedly put things in inappropriate places.
  8. Changes in mood or behavior:
    1. Everyone becomes sad or moody from time to time.
    2. Someone with dementia can have rapid mood swings from calm to tears to anger for no apparent reason.
  9. Changes in personality:
    1. People’s personalities can change with age.
    2. A person with dementia can become suspicious, fearful or apathetic and uncommunicative. They may also become disinhibited, over-familiar or more outgoing than previously.
  10. Loss of initiative:
    1. It is normal to tire of housework, business activities or social obligations.
    2. A person with dementia may become very passive and require cues prompting them to become involved.

Remember that many conditions have symptoms similar to dementia, so it is important not to assume that you have dementia just because some of these symptoms are present. Strokes, depression, alcoholism, infections, hormone disorders, nutritional deficiencies and brain tumors can all cause dementia-like symptoms. 

Consulting a doctor to obtain a diagnosis is critical at an early stage.

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