What are the early signs of dementia?

Dementia is not a specific disease, but rather a general term that is used for the ongoing decline of brain function.[1] Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, making up around 60% of diagnoses in the UK.[2]

Different types of dementia can affect people’s symptoms, and everyone will experience symptoms in their own way.[3] However, there are some common early shared symptoms of dementia;

Memory loss that affects day-to-day life

It’s normal to forget things occasionally, only to remember them a little while later. However, a person living with dementia may forget things more often and struggle to recall them later.

Difficulty with language

We all have trouble finding the right words sometimes, someone living with dementia may forget simple words and phrases or substitute words such that the sentence is difficult to understand.

Problems with abstract thinking

From time to time, people may find it more difficult to complete tasks that require abstract thinking such as balancing a chequebook. A person suffering with dementia might have significant difficulties because of loss of understanding what numbers are and how they are used.

Impaired judgement

We all make questionable decisions at some point in our lives, however someone living with dementia may experience changes in judgement or decision-making such as not wearing a coat on a very cold day.

Experiencing changes in personality and mood

Personalities change in subtle ways over time, however a more striking change in personality may suggest the person is living with dementia. People living with dementia can also show very varied mood swings, from calmness to anger to tears, for no apparent reason.

If you are concerned about any of these signs in yourself or a loved one, the next step is to talk to your doctor. It is important to speak openly about any concerns to ensure the best support if provided by the right experts.