Think you might have spotted possible signs of Dementia in your loved one over Christmas? Or maybe you’re worried that you wouldn’t know what behaviour to look out for. Here we’ll break down how to tell if a relative has Dementia, that might offer you some clarity and guidance.
What are the very first signs of Dementia that you might notice?
1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
Is short-term memory loss a sign of Dementia? It can be, yes. Does your relative forget recently learned information/important dates or events and ask for the same information over and over? Or perhaps you’ve noticed they rely on memory aids (e.g. reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own? Memory loss can be a sign of Dementia.
2. Challenges in planning or solving problems.
Are they having trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills? They may have difﬁculty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.
3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure.
Do they have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of their favourite game? These tasks may have been straightforward before, but now present a challenge to the individual.
4. Confusion with time or place.
One of the first signs of early Dementia can be when an individual loses track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. Do they forget where they are or how they got there?
5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.
Is there a link between Dementia and vision? There can be. For some, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s disease. Does you loved one have difﬁculty reading, judging distance and determining colour or contrast? In terms of perception, they may pass a mirror and think someone else is in the room, and may not recognise their own reﬂection.
6. Problems with words in speaking or writing.
There can be barriers to communication with Dementia. Have you noticed that they have trouble following or joining in on a conversation? They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle ﬁnding the right word or call things by the wrong name (e.g. calling a watch a “hand clock”).
7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.
Are they putting things in unusual places? Sometimes they may accuse others of stealing which can then begin to occur more frequently over time.
8. Decreased or poor judgement.
Are they experiencing changes in judgmentally or decision making? For example, they may use poor judgement when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. On the other hand, they may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean. It’s best to ask yourself what they are typically like to then flag any changes.
9. Withdrawal from work or social activities.
Are they removing themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports? They may have trouble keeping up with their favourite sports team or remembering how to complete a favourite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced.
10. Changes in mood and personality?
There is a link between Dementia and mood changes. Have you noticed your relative can become frequently confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious? They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone.
You’ve spotted some possible signs of Dementia. How can we help?
Think you’ve spotted some of the first signs of early Dementia in your relative? Our fantastic team of live in carers are experienced in understanding the different stages of Dementia. They’re trained with coping mechanisms to help support individuals and their families.
Don’t forget to download your FREE guide to understanding dementia here