Most people believe that dementia is a specific disease, but the fact is that dementia actually refers to a combination of symptoms that are caused by a variety of diseases. Alzheimer’s is one of the diseases associated with dementia. When dementia involves a combination of conditions and symptoms, how can you tell if your loved one suffers from it? Here are some common signs that will help you determine whether your loved one needs treatment.
While your loved one’s inability to find the right word at times may seem like a minor problem, it can be indicative of a larger issue. Limited cognitive function related to dementia can make it difficult for your loved one to find the right words to effectively communicate. This early symptom can be frustrating for your loved one and may make it hard for you to understand what they are trying to convey during a conversation.
Loss of Interest
If your loved one once enjoyed playing board games, knitting or collecting antiques and can no longer be bothered to participate in these activities, this apathy could be a sign of dementia. Ask your loved one about his or her hobbies to determine whether he or she has lost interest in them. Another way to tell if your loved one has lost interest in activities is to observe behavior. Flat emotions indicate apathy and could be a sign that it’s time to see a doctor.
Loved ones who were once able to successfully navigate their city without help may start to lose their sense of direction as dementia sets in. Signs that your loved one has lost his or her sense of direction include forgetting established landmarks, getting lost when running errands or having trouble following simple directions.
Repeating Daily Activities
If you spend a lot of time with your loved one, take notice of whether he or she repeats daily activities due to forgetting whether these tasks have already been completed. Examples include shaving twice, washing hands multiple times in a row or repeating questions after receiving a response.
Changes in Personality
Personality changes can be a clear indicator that something is wrong with your loved one. If he or she has been a calm person in the past and now becomes easily agitated, your loved one may suffer from dementia. The severity of personality changes typically depends on how far the condition has progressed. People who have late-stage dementia may act aggressively and become easily agitated without warning.
If you feel that you are seeing signs of dementia, it’s best to set an appointment with their health professional as soon as possible in order to learn as much as you can about the severity and what can be done to help delay further progression.