Giving Care: Senior & Disabled Caregiver Resource Blog

Dementia: Common First Signs & Early Symptoms

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If you’re one of the fortunate adults who has one or both parents living, you may be curious about their aging process and the potential deterioration of physical and mental capabilities. A common problem of aging is the loss of memory. Although not all seniors will experience it, but recognizing the early signs of dementia and arranging proper care can help your loved one.

Most Common First Signs (and Early Symptoms) of Dementia

With our growing elderly population, it is important to know the signs of dementia. As you will see, the signs and symptoms can vary from person to person.

Short-Term Memory Loss

Many people believe that dementia is primarily characterized as extreme memory loss. But there are different types of memory loss. For instance, a patient with dementia may be able to recall their lives as teenagers, yet forget what they just ate for lunch moments ago.

Now, some level of memory loss is inevitable as we age, but persistent and frequent short-term memory loss may be a sign that someone should be evaluated by a health practitioner.

Mood Changes

Changes to a person’s temperament are actually the first signs of dementia many family members report noticing in their loved ones. Typically, dementia can cause confusion or paranoia in individuals.

This can lead to a person either becoming quiet and withdrawn, or angry and suspicious of others. Patients become extremely agitated with family members or believe that others are stealing from them.

In general, a person’s usual temperament becomes heightened, gentle people become more gentle and those quick to anger become outright argumentative. This abrupt change in behavior causes family members to become concerned.

Problems Concentrating on Tasks

It is very typical to those with dementia to have problems completing simple tasks. Filling out forms or preparing recipes may become very challenging.

Many specialists will test patients on their ability to perform simple tasks involving easy instructions. When a person consistently finds these activities to be challenging or is unable to complete them, a doctor will schedule further diagnostics.

Speech and Language Issues

Sometimes people with dementia notice that they have trouble remembering certain words or understanding the speech of others. The areas of the brain that control speech and language processing are complex.

But one thing doctors have noticed is that many people with dementia will have atypical MRI scans in these areas of the brains. If a person is suddenly having severe issues with formulating speech or understanding others, they should definitely be evaluated by a doctor.

Remember, the human brain is a complex organ, so if a loved one is only expressing one or two symptoms they may not actually have dementia. In fact, many of these symptoms are common in all people as they age, yet not everyone will develop dementia.

There are many factors that will play in a formal diagnosis. Should you or your loved one have concerns about their neural health, seek out the expertise of a medical professional trained to screen for dementia.

A dementia diagnosis requires both behavioral and diagnostic evaluations to be given to an individual. It is not a simple diagnosis to give a person, but these signs of dementia may help you to recognize a possible health issue for your aging parent.

About Visiting Angels, Contributor

Since 1998, Visiting Angels has been providing senior care services to families across the United States and is committed to helping loved ones continue to live at home.



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