Blog Hero

What Are Some Symptoms of Dementia to Track?

Contact Us
An older adult woman with a look of confusion trying to figure out what is displayed on her laptop

The term dementia includes several conditions related to memory and cognitive function. These conditions can include Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body dementia, or vascular dementia. These disorders are progressive, meaning the symptoms gradually intensify over time. 

Signs and symptoms to watch for include memory lapses, decline in problem-solving abilities, and difficulties with language or communication skills

There can be a fine line between normal memory lapse issues and the early stages of dementia. For example, a common problem like misplacing keys isn’t cause for concern, but when your loved one struggles to retrace their steps, it’s time to consult a doctor. 

Knowing the causes and signs to watch for is very beneficial for the family of aging loved ones. This can help you determine if you can provide care, or when a transition to care is needed. 

What Causes Dementia?

Dementia is caused by damaged nerve cells in the brain. The cause of this damage varies and could be from head trauma, restricted blood flow in the brain, or a build-up of proteins in the brain, known as Lewy body dementia

Some medical conditions that can lead to dementia symptoms include Parkinson’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (rare), Huntington’s disease, and infections such as Lyme disease.

Lifestyle and genetics can also play a role in risk factors including obesity, physical activity, smoking, and family medical history. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can prevent the onset of symptoms.

Dementia-like symptoms can also be observed with vitamin deficiency or adverse reactions to medicines. Generally, this would not be classified as dementia, as these symptoms can improve by changing medications or lifestyle. 

There are no current treatments for dementia-related cognitive decline, but there are ways to manage or slow its progression.

Signs & Symptoms to Track

Memory Changes

An older adult man in his sweater trying to remember something as he points to a day on a calendar.

Perhaps the most well-known symptom of dementia is memory interruption. They could be things like:

  • Misplacing items 
  • Repeating tasks
  • Trouble with recall
  • Forgetting names
  • Confusion 

Examples of the early signs of dementia can include specific events such as:

  • Losing keys, a phone, or a wallet or putting them in an odd place like the freezer
  • Performing the same task every day when it isn’t necessary, like buying milk 
  • Having trouble recalling the events of the day, or retracing steps to find lost items

It’s normal to have occasional memory lapses. But if it happens frequently, or more importantly, it’s distressing, it’s time to schedule a doctor’s appointment. 

Communication & Comprehension

Another classic early sign of dementia is difficulty following a story or keeping up with conversations. Memory plays a significant role in these actions, as they often require recalling a word or remembering what happened in last week’s episode of a favorite TV program. 

On the other hand, misplacing names and struggling to find words doesn’t necessarily point to dementia. It becomes problematic when it is bothersome for the person experiencing it, or if it becomes increasingly noticeable and happens more often, perhaps several times a day. If you find yourself wondering if this is normal, calling a doctor may be beneficial.  

Deterioration of Reasoning

When judgment becomes compromised, it can be frightening for everyone. A common symptom of dementia can include reckless, and sometimes dangerous behavior. This symptom is related to a distinct lack of impulse control or the deterioration of reasoning ability.

It can be alarming, like not recognizing when a situation is dangerous. It can be destructive, but not physically harmful, like gambling or giving away money. Changes in judgment can be a precursor to memory interruption, so bring it up to your loved one’s doctor as soon as you recognize there is a change in reasoning. 

Mood Changes

Changes in demeanor and mood are typical symptoms of dementia. It’s often reported that loved ones don’t resemble who they once were, which can be painful and distressing for the whole family. Apathy, aggression, impulsiveness, depression, anxiety, sleep disruptions, and disorientation are included in mood-related signs of dementia. 

It’s important to note that any change in mood or behavior, even a subtle change should be investigated by a doctor. Sometimes infections can cause similar behavior changes in older people, and treatment of the infection can lead to a full recovery. 

Finding Support

It can be challenging to determine if your loved one has signs of dementia or if they are simply aging. Confusion, significant memory loss, and behavior changes are not a normal part of aging. Symptoms related to dementia can start mildly, but they progressively get worse as time passes. 

It is important to see a doctor as soon as you suspect your loved one is experiencing symptoms of dementia. Early intervention can lead to better access to support and improved mental health. Knowing what to watch for and what steps to take as dementia progresses will contribute to your loved one’s well-being.     

Memory care is a live-in option for providing support to those suffering from dementia-related memory loss. The Fairways at Naples offers personalized care options for every community member based on their needs. 

Our community is warm and friendly, with 24-hour staff, a comprehensive security plan, and access to medical care on-site.

The Fairways at Naples is located just off the highway, making it easily accessible for families to visit. We also boast a games room, an onsite barber, a private dining room for larger family visits, and delicious personalized meals. Schedule a visit today for more information. 

Written by Fairways At Naples

More Articles By Fairways At Naples
instagram facebook facebook2 pinterest twitter google-plus google linkedin2 yelp youtube phone location calendar share2 link star-full star star-half chevron-right chevron-left chevron-down chevron-up envelope fax