Dementia is a concern for many people as they age. If you think you’re at risk, act now – follow our early signs of dementia checklist.
Dementia is not a disease but a collection of symptoms associated with a decline in memory and other cognitive abilities that is severe enough to impact daily life. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for as many as 60% to 80% of cases. Another hallmark of dementia is the fact that it is a progressive condition – it gets worse over time. To catch symptoms as soon as possible, you’ll need an early signs of dementia checklist.
If you or a loved one is experiencing changes in mood, behavior, or cognitive ability, it could be an early sign of dementia. Use our early signs of dementia checklist to evaluate your other symptoms then speak to your doctor.
□ Memory loss sufficient to disrupt daily life.
Memory loss is one of the most common signs of dementia, particularly with newly learned information. Many people with early dementia have trouble remembering important events or dates and they find themselves asking the same questions over and over. They may also have an increased need for using memory aids like reminder notes, or for having family members remember things for them.
□ Difficulty planning or solving problems.
As dementia worsens, many people have trouble making plans and solving problems. It becomes difficult to work with numbers, to keep track of bills, or to complete tasks that require concentration, even if they were able to do them easily before.
□ Challenges completing familiar tasks at work or home.
People with dementia often develop challenges with completing tasks that were once familiar such as driving to a regular appointment, managing monthly bills, or remembering how to play a favorite game.
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□ Confusion with time and places.
Many people who develop dementia experience confusion regarding time and place. They may lose track of dates easily or have trouble understanding future events and the passage of time. They may also forget where they are or how they even got there.
□ Difficulty understanding visual or spatial imagery.
Changes in vision are a natural consequence of aging, but dementia can lead to additional challenges such as judging distance or recognizing colors. This can cause problems with driving, reading, and other daily tasks.
□ Losing track of things and difficulty retracing steps.
People with dementia sometimes put things in strange places and then have trouble retracing their steps to find it. Over time, as this symptom worsens, they may accuse people of stealing because they don’t remember moving the item themselves.
□ Poor judgment or difficulty making decisions.
Dementia can lead to changes in a person’s ability to make judgments and decisions. They might have trouble properly managing their money or they may spend large amounts of money on unnecessary things. They may also fall into poor hygiene habits.
□ Withdrawal from social activities.
As the symptoms of dementia continue to worsen, many people start to withdraw from family, friends, and social activities. They might have trouble keeping up with a hobby they once loved as well.
□ Changes in mood, behavior, or personality.
One of the most harrowing aspects of dementia is the potential for changes in mood, behavior, and personality. Some people become confused and anxious while others become paranoid or suspicious. They may be easily upset and might be fearful about leaving what is familiar to them.
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