Signs and symptoms of dementia

Signs and symptoms of dementia

Recognising the difference between normal ageing, mild cognitive impairment and the signs and symptoms of dementia

Every individual is different and so the signs and symptoms of dementia may vary from person to person. People can also be pretty good at attempting to cover up these things as they may feel afraid. However, there will however be some indications that you can be aware of.

It is important to understand the difference between normal ageing and the signs and symptoms of dementia.

The difference between ageing and the signs and symptoms of dementia

Normal ageing

  • Can give examples of their forgetfulness
  • Remembers recent important events
  • Social skills levels are retained
  • Occasionally searching for words
  • Slower recall
  • Need hints to jog memory
  • Slower thinking, problem solving and reactions
  • More difficulty with focus and concentration
  • Doesn't get lost in familiar places

Mild cognitive impairment

Mild cognitive impairment is an intermediate stage between normal ageing and early stages of dementia, although this may not actually lead to dementia.

  • More serious difficulty with daily memory
  • Rigidity in thinking
  • Difficulty with interpreting objects and shapes
  • Less able to plan
  • Language difficulties
  • Forgetting events or important information
  • Deterioration of judgement
  • Difficutly completing tasks
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Changes becoming apparent but still able to continue with daily life

If there are signs of mild cognitive impairment, it is best to take the person to see their GP. The situation can be monitored and it's possible that an earlier diagnoses of dementia can be made.

Early stages of dementia

  • Getting lost in places that are familiar
  • Increased inability to recall recent events
  • Repetitive speech
  • Difficulty communicating and may use replacement words
  • Lack of interest in usual activities
  • Taking longer to do things than before
  • Becoming confused, suspicious, fearful or anxious more easily
  • Difficulties with daily tasks requiring concentration
  • Stops using initiative
  • Possible paranoia, hallucinations or impulsive behaviour

Many people with mild cognitive impairment never get any worse and some improve. Strategies and support can be put in place to help compensate for any difficulties they are encountering with memory and daily living to help maintain independence.

If dementia is diagnosed early, the person can access information, advice and support, adopt a healthy lifestyle and plan ahead while they are still able to do so.  This will include ensuring they have a say in their future care, should they eventually become unable to make their own decisions.

It will also enable you to plan the best way to support them and to access financial and other help as required.

If you are worried about the safety of a loved one at home due to early stages of dementia, Carewatch can help and support, ensuring that not only they are safe, but also that they do retain levels of independence.

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