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What are the early signs of dementia?

There are various early warning signs of dementia, however they are subtle and may not be immediately obvious. Early symptoms will vary from person to person but there are some common signs you can look out for. These may include the following:

Memory loss, particularly recent memories

Most of us experience a degree of memory loss as we age however, often people with dementia will find it easier to remember things from long ago but find that new information such as dates and events can be hard to recall. 

Increasing confusion around time and place/disorientation

Those with dementia can find the passage of time difficult to judge. They may have difficulty with dates, remembering where they are or understanding the concepts of past and future.

Personality or behaviour changes

People with dementia may experience dramatic mood swings, often without reason. Some may become less inhibited whilst others can withdraw, becoming fearful and irritable.

Difficulties with impulse control/poor judgement

It can sometimes be difficult for those with dementia to make appropriate choices, such as what clothes to wear to suit the weather.

Difficulty performing familiar tasks

Someone with dementia may find it difficult to perform tasks that they have previously done on a daily basis. 

Language difficulties

A person with dementia may lose the ability to speak properly, substituting words incorrectly or having difficulty finding the correct word to use. Their handwriting may be increasingly difficult to read, and they may find it difficult to join in conversation with others.

Problems with abstract thinking

Abstract thinking is the ability to think about things that are not physically present – ie. concepts. A person with dementia may recognise numbers but not know what to do with them in order to manage their finances.

Spatial difficulties

Sometimes people with dementia find it difficult to judge distances and directions. This can make it difficult to do certain things, such as driving a car.

If you have observed any or some of these symptoms and are concerned about yourself or a loved one, please consult your doctor for a full assessment.

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