Early stage dementia is often difficult to assess or recognize. Many people mistakenly assume that the changes they see are changes of normal aging. Symptoms may also develop gradually and go unnoticed for a long time. When it is determined that someone has early stage dementia, finding the right support is essential. In this article we’ll discuss some of the symptoms and signs of early stage dementia.
Symptoms of Early Stage Dementia
Common early symptoms of dementia include:
- memory problems, particularly remembering recent events
- increasing confusion
- reduced concentration
- personality or behavior changes
- apathy and withdrawal or depression
- loss of ability to do everyday tasks.
Top 10 Early Signs of Dementia
Below we have included the top ten early signs of dementia. If you or your loved one has several of these symptoms, consult your physician.
- Memory Loss – It is normal to occasionally forget appointments, names or information. Someone with normal aging will remember them later. A person with dementia may forget things more often or not remember them at all.
- Difficulty with tasks – While it is common to become distracted during a task and forget part of that task, someone living with dementia will have difficulty either initiating, stopping, or doing all of the steps of a task.
- Disorientation – A person with dementia may have difficulty finding their way to a familiar place or feel confused about where they are, or think they are back in some past time of their life.
- Language – We all forget words and names, but usually we can remember them later. Someone living with dementia may have difficulty finding words, understanding words or may mis-hear words, leaving them feeling confused and frustrated.
- Abstract thinking – A person with dementia may have trouble knowing what the numbers mean or what to do with them. They may also have difficulty taking in information and coming up with a rational conclusion about that information making others think they are being paranoid.
- Changes in judgement – When this ability is affected by dementia, the person may have difficulty making appropriate decisions, such as what to wear in cold weather. Another common situation is determining whether it is still safe to drive.
- Spatial skills – A person with dementia may have difficulty judging distance or direction when driving a car. This can happen because peripheral vision is decreased with dementia and therefore depth perception becomes challenging.
- Misplacing things and not knowing what things are for or do – A person with dementia may not know what the keys are for. They may put the keys in the refrigerator or attempt to start the car with a screw driver.
- Personality changes – Someone with dementia can have rapid mood swings, for no apparent reason. (The reason is that they are experiencing dementia.) They can become confused, suspicious or withdrawn. Some can become disinhibited or more outgoing.
- Loss of initiative – Dementia may cause a person to lose interest in previously enjoyed activities or require cues prompting them to become involved.
Supporting Someone With Early Stage Dementia
Orchard at Brookhaven is a senior living community in Atlanta that has specialized programming and opportunities for fully engaged life for people with all stages of dementia. Our programming for each stage is developed and implemented by a dedicated staff member. Below is a list of some upcoming events we have, but you can always check our events page to see a full and updated list.
- Neurosize – Friday Dec 6th and 13th at 3:00 pm
- A white Christmas Virtual Music Voyage – Tuesday Dec 17th at 3:00 pm
- Ginger bread house making – Wednesday Dec 18th at 3:30 pm
- Holiday Sing Along – Thursday Dec 19th at 2:30 pm
- Harp Glass performance – Saturday Dec 21st at 3:00 pm
If you or someone you know are experiencing changes in your life, reach out to your physician and look for community support and services to help create ways to continue to be fully engaged in your life.