Ivy Palmer - Care Advice & News

10 Early Signs of Dementia in Women

In the UK, around 65% of people struggling with dementia are women.

Women tend to live longer than men, and since age is the most significant cause of dementia, it means they’re more likely to develop the symptoms associated with it, affecting memory and thinking.

Family and friends need to recognise early signs of dementia to ensure appropriate support for their loved ones. 

So, how can you recognise when a female relative or friend is showing signs of dementia?

Continue reading to discover ten signs of early dementia in women.

1. Memory Changes

woman with dementia looking confused

One of the earliest indicators of dementia is a noticeable change in memory. For example, individuals may struggle to recall recent events, significantly impacting their day-to-day functionality. 

While some degree of difficulty in remembering past or recent events is a natural part of ageing, what distinguishes dementia is the progressive decline in memory function. 

In typical cases of age-related memory loss, simple aids like sticky notes or reminders might suffice to address occasional lapses. However, with dementia, the deterioration of memory becomes more profound and persistent. 

Individuals grappling with dementia struggle to recall minor details and forget significant aspects of their lives, such as people’s names and faces that should be familiar. 

This broad spectrum of memory impairment serves as a crucial early warning sign, prompting further evaluation and intervention to manage the progression of dementia.

2. Difficulty Concentrating

Dementia often signals its onset with difficulty concentrating, stemming from structural and chemical changes in the brain affecting attention and focus. 

This struggle extends to conversations, affecting daily interactions as individuals find it hard to follow discussions or remember key points.

3. Getting Lost Easily

elderly woman with dementia walking in woodland

Getting lost easily is a common early sign of dementia, stemming from difficulties in spatial awareness and navigation. 

Dementia patients often experience disorientation, finding it challenging to recognise familiar landmarks, follow directions, or remember the route to a destination. 

Memory impairment, particularly in the form of short-term memory loss, further compounds the issue. 

Individuals may forget the purpose of their journey, where they are going, or how to return home, resulting in confusion and the unsettling experience of getting lost.

4. Changes to Behaviour

An early sign of dementia often involves noticeable behavioural changes arising from the degeneration of brain cells and disruptions in neural communication. 

Cognitive decline, frustration, and diminished insight contribute to behavioural alterations, with individuals exhibiting signs of agitation, restlessness, or aggression. 

These behavioural shifts necessitate individualised care and understanding for effective management. 

Dementia can also lead to the transformation of personality traits, making individuals more irritable, suspicious, or apathetic.

5. Slower Thoughts

woman with slow thoughts sitting at a laptop

The underlying impact of dementia on the brain’s ability to efficiently process and transmit information leads to a notable slowdown in thought processes and decision-making. 

We delve more into dementia’s impact on decision-making later in this blog.

As mentioned, this delayed cognitive response affects conversations, where they may struggle to keep pace with discussions or respond promptly.

6. Confused about Time

The cognitive impairment extends to the brain’s ability to process temporal information, impacting tasks like reading clocks and calendars and diminishing time awareness. 

Additionally, disruptions in circadian rhythms contribute to disturbed sleep patterns, further skewing individuals’ sense of time and making them disoriented about day and night.

7. Frequently Misplacing Things

woman looking confused from misplacing items

Individuals experiencing cognitive decline associated with various forms of dementia may exhibit repeated questions and a tendency to misplace items. 

These changes are often an early sign of dementia, hinting at challenges in short-term memory.

8. Word-Finding Difficulties

Individuals with dementia may struggle to find the right words or articulate their thoughts, leading to frustrating communication barriers. 

These difficulties can extend to social interactions, where the frustration of being unable to convey thoughts effectively may contribute to withdrawal from conversations and social engagements. 

We look further at how dementia can affect social interactions in the next section.

9. Withdrawal from Social Activities

woman staying at home isolating due to dementia

Individuals with dementia may lose interest in activities they once enjoyed, leading to decreased social interactions. 

Mood changes, including symptoms of depression or heightened anxiety, often accompany this withdrawal. 

As individuals grapple with the cognitive challenges associated with dementia, they may find solace in isolation, inadvertently worsening their symptoms. 

Encouraging social engagement and understanding the emotional impact of cognitive decline are vital components in maintaining a higher quality of life for those affected by dementia.

10. Poor Decision Making

As briefly mentioned, poor decision-making is an early sign of dementia, marked by impulsive behaviours, neglect of personal hygiene, and confusion about medication schedules. 

Individuals may exhibit unsafe activities due to impaired judgement, such as wandering alone or disregarding safety measures. 

Identifying these signs is crucial for timely support and interventions to ensure the safety and well-being of those affected by dementia.

Now you understand the signs that may indicate a loved one is developing dementia, putting you in a better place to plan treatment if and when required.

A dementia live-in carer can assist with personal care, helping with bathing, changing, cooking, cleaning, and more. They can manage medication and monitor symptoms, ensuring treatment adapts when required and giving the individual the best possible care. 

This specialised care alleviates responsibilities and stress for family and friends, knowing the individual is in safe hands. 

Not only will a live-in carer provide support for daily living, but they can also give emotional and mental support. They provide essential companionship, reducing symptoms of isolation, such as anxiety and depression, and encourage activities and social interaction to boost confidence and help maintain cognitive processes.

Get in touch with IP Live-in Care to learn more about our services and how a live-in carer can support you or an individual showing signs of dementia.