Family

Five Signs of Dementia

Knowing and / or caring for someone who has dementia (the most common type being Alzheimer’s Disease) can prove to be extremely difficult. Communicating with the sufferer can become more difficult and increasingly frustrating as time progresses and the patient’s condition deteriorates, and there can be many tough challenges to take on. However, there is dementia treatment available, so whether it is Alzheimer’s or indeed another kind of dementia, the illness can at least be controlled. The condition can have a major impact on everyday life and the person with dementia will need a lot of help and support – as will their family and their carers. A dementia test can be carried out, which is mainly a test of mental ability, and blood tests and brain scans help professionals diagnose the illness and assess its progression and severity. There are three dementia stages: early, middle and late, which all have different dementia symptoms, but below are the most common signs to look out for:  

1) Memory loss
One of the most common signs of dementia is memory loss, especially forgetting recent information. Sufferers of dementia tend to have an extraordinary long-term memory, so will remember a poem or something that they learnt off by heart over ten years ago, but find it extremely difficult to know where they are going for lunch tomorrow, despite having been told several times.    

2) Confusion
Sufferers can lose track of important dates and can sometimes even become oblivious to, and subsequently forgetful of, the changing seasons. Additionally, if something does not happen immediately, they can find it extremely difficult to understand and comprehend. Sometimes, they forget where they are and how they got there.  

3) Lack of communication
Some people have trouble following the thread of a conversation and are thus totally unable to join in a conversation that is already in progression. It is not uncommon to witness them stop in the middle of a conversation and struggle to continue; they often repeat themselves and will muddle up words. For example, instead of calling the TV a telly, they perhaps call it a picture box, in order to make sense verbally of what it is they comprehend it to be in their head.  

4) Easily distracted
Sufferers pay less attention to grooming and to keeping themselves clean, or to keeping an eye on their money. Due to their confusion and lack of memory, they are often not able to make a good judgment – on nearly every aspect of daily life!  

5) Changes in mood
The mood and personality of someone who sufferers with dementia can change dramatically in a very short timeframe. They can start using bad language, become suspicious, depressed, rude and aggressive, and are easily upset when they are out of their comfort zone – even someone who has rarely behaved like this in the past.

For more information, read: Communicating across dementia: How to talk, listen, provide stimulation and give comfort (£9.99, Robinson) by Stephen Miller.