Dementia – Early diagnosis is key  

With an increasing prevalence in the cases of dementia there is a nationwide drive to educate society on the early symptoms of the disease. Early diagnosis is a key factor in slowing down the rate of decline for people with dementia, with drug treatment far more effective in the early stages of the disease.

We have outlined below some of the most common symptoms of the disease.

Short-term memory struggles

Being able to vividly remember events from decades ago, but struggling to remember what they had for lunch, can be an early sign of dementia. As can regularly forgetting why you entered a room, or where you left your keys (although these are not sure-fire signs of dementia, as of course, we all lose our keys from time to time).

Trouble following stories

If someone is struggling to follow the plot of a programme they usually enjoy, or can’t recognise how a film has been developing, they may be exhibiting dementia-like symptoms.

Communication and confusion

Showing signs of confusion, from forgetting faces and names of people they know well, to regularly misplacing things, may indicate the early stages of dementia. Communication issues are also a key problem, so a potential sufferer could find it difficult to think of the right word to use in a sentence, or are unable to verbally express how they are feeling or thinking, which can be very frustrating.

Mood swings

Dementia can affect a person’s ability to judge a situation, so someone who might usually be considered a wallflower, may suddenly start behaving in a much more extravert way, while depression can also be a key early sign of the condition.

Listlessness

Feeling apathetic about spending time with loved ones, or engaging in hobbies and activities that they have always been interested in doing, can indicate the onset of dementia.

Being repetitive

Dementia suffers will ask the same questions several times during one conversation. They will also repeat the same stories or give the same biographical detail every time you meet. They will repeat daily tasks unnecessarily, like making the bed or brushing their teeth.

Loss of sense of direction

Losing their sense of direction and spatial awareness is common in people living with dementia. They will often be unable to recognise landmarks and get lost during simple journeys, such as to and from the local shops. Confusion about which house they live in is also common.

If you can identify any of these traits in yourself, or anyone you know, we recommend consulting with your GP. There are many treatments to help people with dementia, however it is important to have an early diagnosis.

Further information about dementia can be found at:

www.dementiauk.org

www.alzheimers.org.uk

Published 16th March 2017