As your parents or loved ones get older, you might be hearing the word “dementia” a lot. Dementia is a condition caused by several different diseases, including Alzheimer’s. Dementia usually refers to a loss of memory, language, and problem-solving abilities, and overall mental decline. Today, more than 10% of all Americans over 65 have dementia. Dementia is treatable, however, and sometimes early diagnosis can make treatment more effective. Here are 5 signs that might signal your loved one has dementia.
Most people associate memory loss with dementia for a reason. If you notice your loved one is forgetting things more often than usual, this may be a cause for concern. While everyone forgets things sometimes, people with dementia have memory loss that is affecting their daily life. They might ask the same question over and over again, or forget important dates or names. It is especially concerning if they don’t remember the information later. The may not even realize they’ve forgotten it.
Difficulty Planning & Problem Solving
If your loved one is having a lot of trouble making a plan to complete a task, especially if they seem to be having more trouble than usual, this may be a sign of dementia. They might also have difficulty with simple math problems or following a recipe.
Trouble Completing Simple Tasks
Trouble completing simple tasks that your loved one used to do regularly is a big warning sign. For example, your loved one might forget how to drive, make a grocery list, or how to play a simple card game that they’ve played for years. It might also take them much longer than usual to perform daily activities like getting dressed.
Confusion and Disorientation
Watch for signs that your loved one is confused about where they are, the time of day, or what season it is. If they can’t remember how they got where they are, or how long they’ve been there, you might want to be on the lookout for dementia.
Problems with Words
Language problems are another hallmark of dementia. Your loved one may forget words they’ve always known, struggle to follow a conversation, or repeat the same things over and over again. It’s normal to forget a word here or there, but if it’s happening regularly with common words, this may be a sign to visit the doctor.
These 5 early warning signs of dementia will help you and your loved one get help quickly if it is needed. Early detection of dementia is helpful for everyone, so if you have any concerns, go with your loved one to visit their primary care doctor as soon as possible.