Dementia mainly affects people over the age of 65, but how can you spot the condition early enough to seek appropriate care? There are seven common warning signs.
People suffering from dementia experience cognitive decline that is beyond what may be expected from normal ageing.
Increasing difficulties in memory emerge in someone suffering from the condition.
The common warning signs of dementia
The first common warning sign of dementia is the person asking the same question over and over again.
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Another red flashing light is reporting the same story, word for word, again and again.
People with the disease are likely to forget how to carry out activities that they used to do regularly and with ease.
Such activities could be cooking, playing cards, knitting, or the like.
Due to cognitive decline, people experiencing dementia tend to get lost in familiar surroundings, or misplace household objects.
Some could simply forget where they’ve placed things, or it could be as random as putting a fork in the bathroom.
Those with dementia lose the ability to carry out simple routine operations, such as paying bills.
And could start neglecting personal care, such as washing, and may wear the same clothes on consecutive days.
Moreover, they may start relying on someone else to answer questions or to make decisions they used to be capable of handling alone.
Above are the seven most common warning signs of dementia, which can be summarised as repetition, memory loss and confusion.
As the condition progresses slowly, it can be difficult for an accurate diagnosis to be made at the beginning of the disease.
Repeated visits to the doctor’s may be needed and symptoms are best noted down.
The NHS added: “Although there is no cure for dementia at present, if it’s diagnosed in the early stages, there are ways you can slow it down and maintain mental function.”
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The health body recommends taking a trusted close friend or relative along to the GP to discuss concerns of dementia.
This is so the individual who knows the person suspected of dementia well can describe any changes or problems they’ve noticed.
To help rule out other health conditions, such as thyroid issues, a blood test is likely to be arranged.
And memory or cognitive tests may be done to measure the ability to think clearly.
Sometimes, if the GP is unsure about the diagnosis, the person suspected of having the disease can be referred to a specialist.
Specialists include psychiatrists with experience of treating dementia, an elderly care physician, or a neurologist.
The specialist may be based at a memory clinic, and it’s a good idea to make good use of the consultation.
In preparation, write down questions you’d like to ask, make note of any medical terms made, and ask if you can come back if you have more questions.
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