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How To Spot The Tell-Tale Signs of Dementia

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Every three minutes, someone in the UK is diagnosed with dementia, and a further one in three of all new-borns will develop the condition in the course of their lifetimes. Currently, more than 850,000 people in the UK are now live with dementia, and that figure is set to reach two million by 2051. But could you spot the early signs in a loved one?

To help, we’ve created a guide to some of the tell-tale signs that your loved one might have early signs of dementia.

The Most Common Types Of Dementia

There are several types of dementia. No two people developing the condition are the same, with its progression varying in each case.

There can often be a little confusion and a lack of understanding when it comes to the two most common types of dementia, vascular dementia and Alzhemer’s. This confusion is normally caused by mixing up the symptoms of these types of dementia.

The main difference between vascular dementia and Alzhenimers’s is that the former involves more stroke like symptoms, such as weakness and partial paralysis.

What Are The Tell-Tale Signs Of Dementia

One of the most important things to remember is that dementia is not purely about memory loss and that it can affect people very differently. Often, it is easy to jump to conclusions when your loved ones start to experience memory loss later in life. However, some of the key signs of dementia can be much subtler and therefore much harder to recognise.

Below are some of the things that your loved one may be experiencing if they have dementia.

Memory loss

Memory loss is obviously one of the key symptoms and signs that someone might have dementia. Typical signs can include:

    • Short term memory loss
      This can involve forgetting recent discussions or information such as names, telephone numbers, appointments etc. Often your loved one will be able to remember memories from the past but struggle with their short term memory.
    • Forgetting how to do normal, everyday tasks 
      This can be where your loved one continues to forget how to do very simple daily tasks such as turning off the oven, making a cup of tea, closing the back door etc.

Problems With Communication

    • Problems speaking
      Language difficulties can be quite common and include stopping mid-sentence with no idea how to continue, using words in the wrong context or forgetting the names of their loved ones.
    • Anger issues and mood swings
      Often, people who are experiencing symptoms of dementia can have mood or personality changes. This can be caused by anxiety and confusion and result in unprovoked attacks and uncharacteristic mood swings.
    • Apathy and avoidance of loved ones
      One symptom that is not caused by dementia but often associated with it, is depression. If your loved one has experienced any of the symptoms discussed it can have an impact on their mental health causing them to feel disconnected. Depression is often associated with early stage dementia. This can include the avoidance of seeing people or sticking to their regular routine.
    • Issues with focussing
      One of the most common signs of early dementia to look out for is difficulty focusing. This can include misplacing things, leaving items in the wrong place or mixing up the dishwasher and washing machine. This can also include confusions around where they are and how they got there, as well as problems remembering specific dates.
    • Difficulty with reasoning
      Lastly, another tell-tale sign that your loved one might be experiencing the early stages of dementia is through their reasoning and ability to make decisions. These can include problems with judging the correct distance, a lack of spatial awareness and difficulty driving.

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