Dementia is not a specific disease. It's an umbrella term that covers severe conditions that come as a result of various brain disorders. The affected brain parts have damaged cells that result in memory loss and often cause issues with thinking abilities.
As people age, it's normal to experience some amount of memory loss. But the line between memory loss caused by aging and dementia is very thin. And when Alzheimer's or Parkinson's comes up, things become way more serious than usual.
People often think that dementia is a condition that only affects older people. But many types of research had shown that this statement is not always true.
A small group of people developed 'young onset dementia' earlier in life, around their forties or fifties.
Unfortunately, there is still no cure for preventing dementia. Nevertheless, it's vital to catch early signs, to notice them on time. Early diagnosis could help in creating a proper care plan as the condition progresses furthermore.
Here are the 12 early warning signs that you should look out for:
1. Short-Term Memory Loss
Short-term memory loss can start reflecting unnoticeably at first glance through daily tasks. The sudden disappearance of the keys from your home or the loss of the remote control may look minor, but the situation becomes concerning if this starts disrupting everyday life.
2. Difficulty with Familiar Tasks
Even the familiar things we do every day may start fading. Doing the laundry, vacuum cleaning, washing the dishes, completing routine chores can slowly fall to the wayside.
3. Language Problems
The early stages of dementia can start erasing phrases, thoughts, and words from people's minds. It's strongly connected to the ability to actively participate in a conversation.
4. Mood Changes
Unpredictable mood changes are nothing new for patients with dementia. The person can shift from one mood to another in a couple of minutes, and sometimes it can occur without any cause for it.
Remember that your loved one can't control the sudden urge to cry, laugh, and yell, so don't ask them for additional explanations.
Some of the people who show signs of dementia don't have a sense of orientation.
They can get lost easily and not be able to remember how they got somewhere. Keeping an eye on them would save you from worrying.
6. Difficulty Following a Conversation
Early stages of dementia can cause difficulties in comprehending conversations. You may notice your loved one stopping right in the middle of a sentence, having no idea how to continue with the conversation.
The struggle to find the right words is also a common sign. It's normal to forget words from time to time, but we all eventually remember them. That's not the case for people with dementia. They cannot remember the thing they wanted to say even after giving it another try.
7. Being Repetitive
Repeating sentences within a conversation or saying the same thing repeatedly in a short time interval is also one of the many signs that dementia could reflect.
Being repetitive often is the product of losing focus. Dementia can cause difficulties in focusing while doing daily tasks or engaging in a conversation.
8. Loss of Initiative
The willingness to start an activity can drift away.
Focusing on the problem of remembering things when someone knows that they have dementia can cause the ambition and enthusiasm in a person's spirit to decrease.
9. Problems with Abstract Thinking
The loss of abstract thinking and executive function can start showing when a person is getting close to the middle stage of dementia.
Patients often alter from confusion and difficulties in some problem-solving situations to the complete inability to multi-task or react appropriately.
10. Decreased or Poor Judgement
Not being able to make safe decisions is also a sign that alludes to dementia. It can start naively, with not dressing appropriately for an occasion or overdressing with winter equipment on a summer day.
Decreasing in judgment often is the result of forgetting the seasons. Time starts to shrink in your loved one's mind, and confusion with date, place, and time can happen regularly.
11. Withdrawal from Social Activities
Many social situations can transform dementia patients into observers rather than active participants because of their lack of ability to follow a conversation.
Memory loss is a painful experience. It may cause the once cheerful and full-of-life person to show introverted signs and not in a good way.
Shutting people out can happen often. The need to retreat in themselves and find shelter in their sanctuary is inevitable.
12. Personality Changes
Dementia causes changes in a person's brain. These changes can affect the ability to know what is appropriate.
And when this happens, the result is often linked to severe changes in a person's character. The loved one's personality that you used to know starts slipping through the fingers, and there are often things, comments, and reactions that can't be related to how the person was before.
Accepting The Silent Cries For Help
Dementia can be a silent killer that lurks behind the surface of a person's mind.
The most important thing is to observe and analyze.
Even though there still isn't a way to cure or prevent dementia, early diagnosis really can be crucial. It can lead to treatment strategies that can make life easier and stress-free for both sides.
Always take your time. Whatever you decide to do, just trust your instincts, and don't let the guilt interfere with your mind.