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10 Early Signs of Dementia

dementia risk form
October 27, 2023

The early signs of dementia can be very subtle and may not be obvious right away. These early signs can vary from person to person, but many of them are common among those developing dementia. If a loved one is showing several of these warning signs, it may be time to see a doctor for a complete assessment. Here are 10 early signs of dementia to keep an eye out for.

1. Memory Loss

woman with memory issues

One of the most common early signs of dementia is memory loss that disrupts daily life. In the early stages of dementia, you may notice your loved one forgetting recently learned information or important dates and events. They may ask the same questions repeatedly. You may also notice that they are relying more and more on memory aids or other people to remember things they used to handle on their own.

2. Difficulty Solving Problems and Planning

When dementia starts affecting someone’s memory, it can also affect their ability to solve problems or develop and follow a plan. You may notice your loved one finding it difficult to work with numbers or follow a familiar recipe. Keeping up with monthly bills may also become a challenge. These changes can come with difficulty concentrating on a task and taking much longer to do things they used to do easily.

3. Trouble with Familiar Tasks

man struggling with keys

Memory changes from dementia can affect an individual’s ability to complete familiar daily tasks. That’s why one of the early signs of dementia is someone having a difficult time driving to a familiar location or remembering the rules to a favorite game. Other daily tasks like organizing a grocery list or cleaning the house can become much more difficult to complete.

4. Confusion and Disorientation

Another one of the early signs of dementia is losing track of the passage of time. Keep an eye out to see if your loved one is finding it difficult to understand something that’s not happening immediately. They may also lose track of dates and seasons. Disorientation may occur if they forget where they are or how they got there.

5. Vision and Spatial Challenges

man struggling to read

Dementia may come with vision changes. These vision changes can affect your loved one’s ability to balance on their own and may cause trouble reading. Determining color or contrast can also become difficult. Spatial issues may occur as well, such as problems judging distance. These vision and spatial challenges can make driving difficult and even dangerous. This is not to be confused with vision changes related to cataracts, which is a normal age-related change in vision.

6. Communication Problems

Is your loved one having a hard time joining or following conversations? This may be an early sign of dementia. You may notice that they stop in the middle of a conversation without knowing how to continue. Or, they may repeat themselves a lot. Trouble with vocabulary or using the wrong names for familiar objects can also be early signs of dementia.

7. Losing Things

keys in refrigerator

Another one of the early signs of dementia that you should watch out for is your loved one misplacing things and not being able to retrace their steps. You may find that your loved one is putting things in unusual places where they wouldn’t normally put items. Or, they may lose the ability to go back over their steps to find objects they’ve lost. As dementia progresses, they may even accuse others of stealing from them.

8. Changes in Judgment

Changes in judgment and decision-making is another common early sign of dementia. Your loved one may start using poor judgment when making money-related decisions. You may notice they are paying less attention to grooming or hygiene as well. These can be early signs of dementia if they continually occur, not just if they make a mistake or bad decision every once in a while.

9. Withdrawal from Social Engagement

elderly man thinking

Because someone with dementia may have difficulty holding and following conversations, they may start to withdraw from social activities and hobbies that they used to enjoy. You may notice your loved one is attending fewer and fewer social events or engagements. Hobbies and activities that involve other people may become significantly less important to them.

10. Mood or Personality Changes

Some of the changes that dementia can cause in an individual include mood and personality changes. You may notice your loved one is becoming confused more often, or they are more suspicious of others. They may also become more depressed, fearful, or anxious than they ever were before. Another common change is becoming more easily upset with people they know or when they feel out of their comfort zone.

These are some of the most common early signs of dementia that you should keep an eye out for. If you are concerned that your loved one may be exhibiting several of these warning signs, you should make an appointment with a doctor.

Get Personalized Care at Towncrest Pharmacy

If your loved one takes medications and you are concerned about their ability to take them correctly, we can help. Here at Towncrest Pharmacy, we offer compassionate, personalized care for all patients and caregivers. We want to help make sure our patients’ medication needs are met, and we do this through a number of services such as medication non-adherence solutions and multi-dose pill packaging to make taking medications safer and easier. If you’re ready to take advantage of these services, schedule an appointment to talk to a pharmacist today!