1. Memory loss
Memory loss becomes concerning when an individual is frequently forgetting things and having difficulty recalling newly learned information.
2. Misplacing things
Misplacing items occasionally is a common, but frequently misplacing items or putting them in inappropriate locations and then being unable to retrace steps is not a normal behavior.
3. Difficulty with everyday tasks
It is not normal to forget how to perform tasks or activities that are preformed everyday or as a part of a normal routine.
4. Disorientation to time and place
If an individual is frequently losing track of dates and seasons, or appears to be unaware of their surroundings or the passage of time, it could be a sign of dementia.
5. Language problems
Dementia can cause difficulties in speech, vocabulary, and comprehension, making it challenging for the affected individual to participate in conversations. Typically, one of the first signs of dementia is difficulty with word finding, which can require extra time or assistance to identify the appropriate word.
6. Changes in mood, behavior, and personality
Rapidly changing mood, behavior, or personality characteristics for no apparent reason could be a sign of dementia.
7. Poor judgment
Poor judgment could involve things like mishandling finances, trouble choosing weather appropriate clothing, neglecting personal hygiene, or making poor health decisions.
8. Changes in ability to problem solve
People with dementia may experience changes in mental flexibility impacting their ability to plan or problem solve through challenges.
9. Withdrawal from work or social activities
An individual with dementia may begin to withdraw from work or people and lose interest in participating in once enjoyable hobbies.
10. Challenges in understanding visual and spatial information
An individual may experience changes to their vision impacting their ability to read, judge distances, balance themselves, or detect color and contrast. Difficulty with driving is often a first sign of these difficulties.
If you notice any of these signs and symptoms, it's best to follow-up with your primary care physician so that they can rule out what may be going on and refer you to specialists for follow-up, if necessary. It's important to remember that dementia is a syndrome — a collection of symptoms. It is not a disease in and of itself. Something has to be causing the symptoms of dementia. Also, not all forms of dementia are progressive and not everything that looks like dementia is actually dementia and may actually be treatable.
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