Dementia signs that people keep to themselves
One in three people who notice symptoms of dementia in themselves or a loved one keep their fears to themselves for a month or longer, an Alzheimer's Society survey in the UK found.
Only 15% of people living dementia brought up the issue straight away, while 11% still haven’t raised their worries after spotting the first symptom.
Confusing dementia symptoms with normal ageing was the top reason people stayed silent (64%), followed by not wanting to worry their loved one (33%), and fears of how their relationships might change (16%).
According to Dementia Australia, signs that you or a loved one may be experiencing dementia—and not just normal ageing—include:
Recent memory loss that affects job skills
It is normal to forget meetings, colleagues' names, or a business associate's telephone number occasionally, but then remember them later. A person with dementia may forget things more often, and not remember them later.
Difficulty performing familiar tasks
Busy people can be so distracted from time to time that they may leave the carrots on the stove and only remember to serve them when the meal has finished. A person with dementia might prepare a meal and not only forget to serve it, but also forget they made it.
Problems with language
Everyone has trouble finding the right word sometimes. A person with dementia may forget simple words or substitute inappropriate words.
Disorientation of time and place
It is normal to forget the day of the week or your destination for a moment. People with dementia can become lost on their own street, not know where they are, how they got there or how to get back home.
Poor or decreased judgement
Dementia affects a person's memory and concentration and this in turn affects their judgement. Many activities, such as driving, require good judgement and when this ability is affected, the person will be a risk, not only to themselves, but to others on the road.
Problems with abstract thinking
Managing finances can be difficult for anyone. A person with dementia may have trouble knowing what the numbers means or what to do with them.
Anyone can temporarily misplace a wallet or keys. A person with dementia may repeatedly put things in inappropriate places.
Changes in mood or behaviour
Everyone becomes sad or moody from time to time. Someone with dementia can have rapid mood swings from calm to tears to anger, for no apparent reason.
Changes in personality
People's personalities can change a little with age. A person with dementia can become suspicious or fearful, or just apathetic and uncommunicative. They may also become dis-inhibited, over-familiar or more outgoing than previously.
Loss of initiative
It is normal to tire of housework, business activities or social obligations. The person with dementia may become very passive and require cues prompting them to become involved.
Consulting a doctor to obtain a diagnosis is critical at an early stage.