What are the symptoms of Dementia?

Senior woman with Dementia receiving help at care home

What are the symptoms of Dementia?

An often-misunderstood illness, many people grapple with exactly how they know their loved one is suffering from Dementia, and what to do about it.

So what should family members be keeping an eye out for? How do you recognise that someone has dementia?

Sometimes it can be a small change, such as a loss of interest in going out, as in the case of Lilly. Lilly had always loved meeting up with friends and having fun. A great story teller, she always had everyone laughing. Now when Cliff could persuade her to go out she would sit without joining in conversations, and was keen to go home. The changes in Lilly were also affecting her relationships with family. After a check up and some tests with their GP, they were informed Lilly had Dementia.

Dementia is more than memory loss, it is the ‘umbrella’ term used to describe the symptoms of a large group of illnesses that cause a decline in a person’s thinking processes – significantly impacting their every day life. Dementia has no cure, and the symptoms will increase over time.

Sometimes the earliest signs can be very subtle. With regards to memory, it is often the short term memory that is affected first, with people forgetting where they have left an item or why they came into a room. It is important to understand that memory loss is not the only symptom of Dementia. A person would need to have two types of impairments, which are seriously impacting their everyday life, for a diagnosis of Dementia.

Other early signs can be a person struggling to express themselves, having difficulty finding the right words to explain something, or inability to follow conversations. This may have been a reason why Lilly withdrew from friends. Changes in mood are also common, with signs of depression or apathy.

If you see some of these signs in someone you know, don’t assume it is Dementia. It may be evidence of other conditions that can be treated. If you have any concerns about a loved one, seek a correct diagnosis by visiting your doctor to achieve the best outcome.

At Anglican Care, we specialise in caring for people with Dementia – contact us to find out more.