Dementia is not a disease but a collection of symptoms affecting memory, communication, thinking, and social abilities, interfering with day-to-day activities. Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, a head injury, stroke, brain tumor, are some of the major causes of dementia. An early identification of symptoms could help in the early diagnosis of the underlying cause. It is important that the patient shows any two symptoms mentioned below, in order to be diagnosed with dementia.
Symptoms Of Early Dementia
1. Changes In Short-Term Memory
A person with dementia may tend to forget things more often, or not remember them at all. In adults, it could be forgetting an appointment, losing a track of things to be done on a particular day, or forgetting where they placed a particular item. Older people would significantly remember things that have happened years ago but would forget what color of outfit they wore the previous day.
2. Trouble Completing Mundane Tasks
There might be a slight difference in the way a person with dementia completes certain mundane tasks. He might find trouble remembering rules of a particular game, doing bank transactions, or cooking a dish with distinct ingredients. Along with this, there might be a lag in learning new things or getting adjusted to new routines.
3. Loss Of Interest
The person loses interest in hobbies or things that used to interest him before. He tries to avoid social connections. Emotional detachment could be one of the reasons. As a result, the person stops beings expressive and likes to spend time all alone. He might also refrain himself from going out and having fun. He might stop taking initiative in things that would excite a normal person.
4. Losing Track Of Vocabulary
Forgetting the usage of right words in a particular context is one of the common early signs of dementia. The person struggles to communicate his thoughts due to his inability to recall his vocabulary, and conversations might take longer than usual to complete. He might also find understanding simple things told by others, too hard to follow.
5. Disorientation And Confusion
A difficulty finding a familiar place, remembering someone he met the previous day, forgetting what comes next in the normal course of the day are all the signs of disorientation and confusion. Such person might lose confidence in striking or keeping the conversation active for a long time. He might also get stuck with maps trying to recollect what exactly was he searching for.
6. Significant Change In Moods
Depression is the most common change in a person with dementia. Apart from this, aggression might also be evident. There might a problem controlling one’s mood and behavior. It affects the way a person judges someone, and thus, his perception about a particular person might change drastically.
7. Repetitiveness In Speech Or Deeds
Due to loss of memory, the person might end up doing the routine tasks like brushing teeth, showering, and washing his car repeatedly. The conversations might also get difficult since the person might persistently ask the same questions, even after they are being answered.
8. Difficulty Connecting The Dots
Not being able to follow a particular storyline or connect the dots in the story is one of the classic symptoms of early dementia. Since, understanding new words or being able to recollect old ones is a problem, remembering the chronology of events and understanding the scenes becomes difficult.
9. Struggle To Adapt To New Changes
The fear of not being able to remember, or to perceive what the other person tells could make the person limit himself to a routine. This leads to hesitation, where the person finds it safe to not try new things. Even if he learns a new skill, he might have a trouble recalling it.
10. Deterioration Of Spatial Skills
The person might lose the sense of judgment while driving a vehicle, not understanding the speed and distance relationship. He might also find difficulty playing a certain game, like tennis, where he might not be able to judge the speed of the ball and the intensity with which a shot needs to be taken.
If you or your loved is undergoing any of the above problems collectively, it is recommended to visit a mental health care provider immediately. Memory loss alone wouldn’t mean it is dementia since a lot of factors like age and certain medications also cause it. However, if the symptoms are repetitive, with increasing intensity, a visit to the doctor should not be delayed.