7 Early Warning Signs of Dementia You Shouldn’t Ignore

Early Warning Signs of Dementia You Shouldn’t Ignore

Dementia is a broad term used to describe a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life.

Memory loss is an example of dementia.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, but there are many other types as well. (1)

While it’s normal to experience some mild forgetfulness as we age, there are certain early warning signs of dementia that shouldn’t be ignored.

If you or a loved one is exhibiting any of the following seven warning signs, it’s important to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis.

1. Difficulty completing everyday tasks

Generally speaking, everyone forgets things from time to time.

But if you or a loved one is starting to have difficulty completing everyday tasks, it could be an early warning sign of dementia.

Tasks such as driving to familiar locations, keeping track of monthly bills, or following a recipe can become increasingly difficult for someone with dementia.

Early Warning Signs of Dementia You Shouldn’t Ignore

2. Difficulty with speech and language

Another early warning sign of dementia is difficulty with speech and language.

A person with dementia may have trouble finding the right words to express themselves.

They may also start to speak more slowly or have difficulty understanding what others are saying.

3. Repetition

Repetition is often one of the first signs of dementia.

If you notice that your loved one is constantly repeating themselves, it could be an indication that something is wrong.

This is especially true if they are repeating the same questions or statements over and over again.

For example, they may ask you the same question multiple times in the span of a few minutes, or they may tell you the same story more than once.

4. Disorientation and confusion

People with dementia can become easily confused about time, place, and even people.

They may have trouble understanding what’s going on around them and may become agitated or upset in new or unfamiliar surroundings.

5. Changes in mood and behavior

Harvard Health explains that 90% of people living with dementia may suffer from anxiety, agitation, and depression. (2)

They may also experience changes in their personality and become more withdrawn or apathetic.

If you notice a loved one exhibiting any of these changes, it’s important to have a conversation with their doctor.

6. Changes in sleep patterns

Dementia can also cause changes in sleep patterns.

A person with dementia may have trouble falling asleep, or they may wake up frequently throughout the night.

They may also sleep during the day more than they did before.

7. Getting lost

People with dementia may start to get lost, even in familiar places.

They may forget how to get home from work, or they may have trouble finding their way around the neighborhood.

For example, they may drive to the store but then can’t remember how to get back home.

What to do if you notice these early warning signs

If you’ve noticed any of the early warning signs of dementia in yourself or a loved one, it’s important to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis.

Dementia is a progressive disease, which means it will only get worse over time.

But, there are treatments available that can help slow the progression of the disease and improve quality of life. 

For example, medications can help with some of the symptoms of dementia, such as memory loss and confusion.

There are also a number of helpful coping strategies that can make life easier for both the person with dementia and their caregivers.

If you’re worried about dementia, the best thing to do is to talk to your doctor.

They can help you understand your risk factors and make recommendations for the next steps.