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What Are the Early Signs of Dementia?

A senior woman with signs of dementia bonds with her caregiver.

What Are the Early Signs of Dementia?

July 19th, 2021

As we age, most people will experience some minor form of forgetfulness. The question is, when do these small signs like forgetting the name of a family member or getting lost for a moment foreshadow the onset of dementia? Part of what makes dementia challenging to identify is that the early symptoms are often very subtle. However, identifying dementia in a loved one as early as possible can give you more time to find the right treatment options that can slow disease progression. In this post, we’ll go through five early signs of dementia to look out for. 

5 Early Signs of Dementia 

1. Trouble Finding the Right Words

One of the earliest signs of dementia is when your loved one has trouble finding the word they want to use or putting together their thoughts. Dementia can make it difficult for someone to express themselves and hold a steady conversation. If your loved one is having difficulty getting their point across or stumbling to find the specific word for an object or feeling, keep a close eye on them to see whether this pattern continues. 

2. Difficulty Completing Daily Tasks 

When someone is in the early stages of dementia, it’s common for their routine tasks to become much more difficult for them to perform. Tasks with set universal rules like paying your bills or renewing a prescription are usually the first ones to experience problems. The early stages of dementia also make learning new tasks much more of an uphill climb. 

3. Problems with Short-Term Memory 

Once dementia starts to progress, short-term memory is one of the first mental functions that’s impacted. Someone in this position will have no problem telling you about a treasured memory from the past but could struggle with remembering simple things like what they had for lunch just a few hours ago. Other signs of short-term memory loss include forgetting where they put an item and not remembering why they went somewhere. 

4. Changes in Mood 

It’s common for anyone with dementia to experience changes in their mood. The strain the dementia puts on their memory sets the stage for depression to set in. By having trouble remembering key aspects of their day, someone with dementia can get discouraged and feel a strong sense of hopelessness. The early stages of dementia can also affect a person’s judgment, so seeing a loved one go from being shy to more outgoing is also possible. 

5. Exhibiting Repetitive Behavior 

This early sign of dementia is closely linked to the memory loss aspects we mentioned above. You might find someone with dementia repeating or redoing daily tasks simply because they’re not sure whether they’ve already been completed. This behavior can manifest itself in conversation as well. If your loved one develops a pattern of asking the same question repeatedly in conversation, it’s a sign they could have a memory impairment. 

If you’ve noticed your loved one is showing early signs of dementia, it’s important you reach out to their primary care doctor. They’ll be able to help determine whether it’s truly dementia or just normal aging. If the diagnosis turns out to be dementia, often a move to a memory care community like Garden Plaza of Florissant can help your loved one live with more fulfillment and find more purpose in each day. 

Discover Expert Memory Care in Florissant, MO 

At Garden Plaza of Florissant, our memory care provides older adults with Alzheimer’s or dementia the personalized care they need to maintain their sense of dignity and contentment. Your loved one will enjoy home-cooked meals and meaningful activities, all in a safe environment. Our goal is to help your loved one reach a higher level of physical, mental and spiritual health. If you’re interested in learning more about our expert memory care in Florissant, contact us today.