Dementia is a very common illness, affecting one in six people over the age of 80. By 2025 it is expected that over one million people in the UK will suffer from a form of dementia. It affects everyone differently, so it is hard to predict how long somebody will be able to live a normal life following diagnosis.
Recognising the early signs of dementia is important, so you or your family member can get the appropriate help and support as soon as possible. Dementia is not a normal part of ageing – so don’t think that your GP won’t be able to help. Find out more about the common symptoms of dementia and what to look out for.
One of the first signs of dementia is memory loss. Becoming generally forgetful is not always a signal towards dementia – but short term memory loss can be one of the early signs to watch out for. A person suffering with dementia will forget familiar dates or names and also the context in which they remember them.
Change in personality
As a disease that affects the brain, dementia can also have an impact on a family member’s personality. If you have noticed any recent changes in mood or behaviour, such as out of character mood swings or emotions, this could be a warning sign. Memory problems can often make people frustrated and angry.
We all forget where we put our keys from time to time – but for someone with dementia, misplacing items is a common occurrence. They may also misplace possessions in unusual places, for example items which are not food may end up in the fridge.
Somebody suffering with the onset of dementia can become easily disorientated to time and place. For example, they may get confused about the time of day and turn up for dinner in the morning. They may also become lost in familiar places, which can be distressing.
Dementia can make a person very passive – they may sit staring into space for long periods of time, sleep a lot or watching TV. If you notice somebody is losing interest in their hobbies or social events, it may be a sign of dementia if there are other symptoms pointing in that direction.
Dementia affects brain function and over time, a dementia sufferer will lose the ability to perform basic tasks for themselves. It is important to secure the right dementia care for yourself or your loved one before the condition takes hold.