Dementia is a complex and often challenging condition that can affect the elderly, gradually eroding their cognitive abilities and altering their behaviour.
There are some symptoms that you might be able to spot in a loved one that could be an early sign of dementia. These signs may not always be obvious but are crucial markers for timely intervention and support.
Stewart Mcginn, managing director at Baycroft Care Homes, identifies the early symptoms of dementia to look out for in an elderly family member: “One of the earlier symptoms an elderly family member may display when suffering from dementia is continuously misplacing things or placing items in strange places, such as the TV remote in the fridge or food items in with the cleaning products.
“They may also experience difficulty focusing on tasks that require organisation and planning due to Alzheimer’s disease, which causes dementia, affecting the hippocampus, which controls new learning and memories. With this being disrupted, it can be much harder to concentrate.
“Some of the more common or obvious symptoms include problems with language. While everyone can forget the odd word from time to time, regularly struggling to remember words or substituting them in sentences with random words can indicate someone is suffering.
“One of the most noticeable signs of dementia is recurring memory loss, particularly with less significant information. Examples of behaviour could include re-reading the newspaper, re-telling stories, or forgetting an acquaintance’s name.
“One of the lesser known symptoms of dementia is mood swings, which can occur as the person suffering can begin to get frustrated with themselves, sometimes without obvious cause or reason. This can be a person’s mood quickly changing from calm to angry or emotional without reason or if they become generally more withdrawn or anxious.
“If your elderly family member displays signs of dementia, the recommended first step is to make a GP appointment. From then, the doctor will decide whether the patient needs to be referred to a specialist, including a neurologist, psychiatrist, psychologist or geriatrician.
“If your elderly family member struggles to come to terms with the diagnosis or has any questions or worries they want answered, there are several dementia charities and support lines that can comfort your loved one during this difficult time.”