Dementia is an umbrella term for a decline in mental ability, manifested by symptoms like memory loss and difficulties with thinking. It is a terrible condition which affects both the lives of the victims and their family members.
What is dementia?
As mentioned above, dementia itself is not a disease, rather a general term used to describe and categorize certain mental disorders. Among them are:
- Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Vascular Dementia
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)
- Dementia with Lewy Bodies
- Frontotemporal Dementia
- Huntington’s Disease
- Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome
There are more than 100 different types of dementia, all of which are progressive and damage the brain more and more as time passes by. Alzheimer`s is the most prevalent type of dementia, accounting for over 50 percent of all dementia cases. While only an estimate, about 5 million Americans suffer from some form of dementia.
Dementia Affects Different People in Different Ways
Dementia affects people differently; depending on their emotional and physical stability, personality, and the support they are given. While dementia is incurable at this point, early diagnosis can go a long way in helping to address the problem on time.
12 Early Warning Signs of Dementia
- Short Term Memory Problems
Short term memory problems are one of the most common early signs of dementia. Initially, these changes are very subtle, causing the individual to remember events of many years ago, while failing to recall more recent events. They may also be unable to remember where they put something or why they went somewhere.
- Difficulty with Choosing a Suitable Word
When the person has difficulty being able to choose a suitable word, it is very likely that dementia is setting in. Very often, having a meaningful conversation can be very difficult for these people, and might take much more time than it would do normally. If frequently happens to them to try desperately to remember a specific word or choose the one appropriate for the situation.
- Mood Swings
Mood swings are yet another common early sign of dementia. Its victims often become depressed for short period. In addition to this, a change of personality is also possible, meaning that if someone who is ordinarily shy may become outgoing and gregarious.
Lethargy is very common in those who are in the early stage of dementia. Victims are likely to lose interest in doing anything, even those things they enjoyed doing earlier. They may be hesitant about going out as well as showing symptoms of losing interest in being with their loved ones.
- Difficulties with Making Plans or Problem Solving
People in early stages of dementia often face difficulties in making plans or trying to follow a plan they have made earlier. Others may also face problems when trying to deal with numbers. Simply put, they experience a notable decline in the ability to focus on anything.
- Finding it Difficult to Complete Ordinary Everyday Chores
Another very common symptom of dementia is then one finds it difficult to complete simple, day-to-day activities that have been previously done without even thinking about them. In most cases the victim finds it difficult to drive to a once familiar place or remember the rules of certain simple game.
- Difficulty in Understanding Time
Time is relative, and making associations with the future, present, or the past can prove challenging. Victims very often fail to understand why something isn’t happening at the moment and being told that something will happen the next day might seem odd for them.
- Having Difficulty Recognizing Places
Victims may sometimes not recognize places and even being at home may seem unfamiliar. In addition to this, they may realize that they are in a certain place out of the blue, without being aware to recall how they got there.
- Experiencing Problems with Writing
Just like these people have difficulty to find a suitable word, they also find it difficult to choose the right word when it comes to writing, which makes their job of writing more challenging and even frustrating.
- Becoming Repetitive
Repeating something they have already said a few times earlier in the conversation is another symptom to look for in a dementia sufferer. Victims often feel the urge to ask a question they already had asked or answered earlier. Repetition towards actions like having a shave, combing hair, or brushing teeth is also possible.
- Trying to Avoid Change
While many people are simply not fond of changes, the realization in those suffering from dementia can be frightening. This particularly applies to certain aspects of their experiences like getting lost. In order to avoid this, they will try anything to avoid change.
- Not Being Able to Follow a Storyline
As already discussed earlier, dementia sufferers are likely to experience difficulty in focusing and concentration. This is often manifested by inability to follow a storyline, either while watching a movie or during an event someone is relating.