Nobody wants to talk about dementia, but for many aging people, it’s an issue of concern. Dementia can take many forms, and its onset can be so gradual at first that a person may not realize that it’s occurring until it’s too late to take advantage of some treatment options.
So it’s good to know the “warning signs” that suggest a check from a medical professional is needed. These could include:
- Subtle, short-term memory changes, such as not recalling what one had for breakfast, or where you put down a purse.
- Difficulty finding the right words. If a conversation with someone starts to become more difficult, it may be time to seek help.
- Difficulty with normal tasks, or being able to follow directions.
- Changes in mood, or apathy about something that used to get an individual excited (it may be harder to do things mentally, and the way to hide this problem is to avoid these activities.
- Confusion. Memory issues can cause frustration and uncertainty.
- Trouble with directions, especially to places that someone is familiar with.
- Repetition, such as repeating tasks or re-dialing someone on the phone.
- Avoiding change or new experiences. When memory issues occur, the individual tends to focus on the routine, and breaks from the routine can create confusion.
Now, it’s important to remember that practically everyone (no matter what age) experiences the above situations at some time in their lives, so a couple of “goofs” doesn’t necessarily signal that there’s a dementia problem. But if you notice these things happening more often than usual, then it may be worthwhile to get an evaluation.
Remember—there are new treatments for memory issues, especially if they are caught early. And with proper treatment and management, many people can have years of quality life still ahead of them.
Because of this, they might crave routine and be afraid to try new experiences. Difficulty adapting to change is also a typical symptom of early dementia.