Dementia is a set of various symptoms related to loss of neurological functions, which includes loss of memory, thinking function, language, decision making, as well as other neurological abilities. Dementia stems from various causes; such as brain damage, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. In its early stages, dementia can be impossible to identify since it starts with subtle changes in a person’s behavior or mood.
Because of these subtle changes, individuals of all age groups need to know what dementia is and how they can identify this disorder. Early dementia symptoms can be recognized in the initial stages. These early signs must be recognized so that medical professionals can administer treatment as soon as possible:
1. Short term memory loss
Short-term memory loss is one common dementia symptom that is mostly seen in older persons. These individuals usually experience memory loss over a very short period. Specifically, an individual with dementia may forget the task they were performing or the topic of the conversation they were having ten minutes ago. Despite the experience of loss of short-term memory, long-term memory is usually not affected.
2. Confusion about time and place
Individuals affected by dementia often experience disorientation and have challenges recognizing or identifying objects, places, and people. These individuals may confuse minutes with hours regularly, which is a result of changes or damage done to the brain. It is important to note that confusion about time and place is also accompanied by anxiety. The anxiety may not be the result of disorientation specifically but may be caused by the individual feeling anxious in what seems like an unfamiliar environment. Dementia confusion may stem from a disease or a brain injury and can also be caused by an addition of stress or possibly changes in the person’s environment. Once a person starts to display behaviors associated with confusion, it should be medically addressed so that once it is identified as dementia confusion, then medical professionals can administer treatment.
3. Challenges understanding visual information
Dementia may also cause persons to have challenges interpreting information accurately. While reading ability or understanding the words may be compromised, the meaning of signs or other visual objects may also be difficult for an individual with dementia to comprehend.
4. Misplacing personal items
A critical early warning sign of dementia is when a person begins to constantly misplace personal items. Moreover, not only misplacing these items but also finding them in unusual places should cause concern. When missing items are located in unusual places, individuals, especially the elderly, tend to deny or get confused about placing the items in that place because they cannot recall if they did.
5. Poor judgement
Another early key symptom of dementia may be poor judgment. This symptom tends to become more evident in the affected individual’s behavior before memory loss begins to affect them. The inability to make wise and practical decisions becomes a challenge or impossible in dementia cases. Persons affected by dementia may possess poor judgment with driving, finances, safety/danger, and other areas of life.
Dementia has various stages and is almost impossible to identify in its earlier stages. However, once it is identified early, persons with dementia will receive treatment and may go on to live a comfortable life. A person needs to maintain good physical and mental health to reduce risks of dementia. As individuals get older, participating in social activities and mental activities such as reading or learning a new skill or new information with friends or family can reduce risks of dementia.