Recognizing the Early Signs of Dementia in Older Adults: A Guide for Families

As our loved ones age, it becomes increasingly important to monitor their cognitive health

Dementia is a progressive condition that affects millions of older adults worldwide. It can be a heart-wrenching journey, not just for the person diagnosed but also for their families. Recognizing the early signs of dementia is crucial for timely intervention and care planning. This guide aims to help families identify these early indicators and understand the steps they can take thereafter.

Understanding Dementia

Before delving into the signs, it’s important to understand what dementia is. It’s a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, but there are several other forms.

1. Memory Loss Affecting Daily Activities

One of the most common early signs is memory loss, particularly forgetting recently learned information. It’s more than misplacing keys; it might involve repeatedly asking the same questions or forgetting important dates or events.

2. Challenges in Planning or Solving Problems

Some individuals may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may struggle with following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills.

3. Difficulty Completing Familiar Tasks

People with dementia often find it hard to complete daily tasks. They may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work, or remembering the rules of a favorite game.

4. Confusion with Time or Place

Losing track of dates, seasons, and the passage of time is another indicator. Sometimes, they may forget where they are or how they got there.

5. Trouble Understanding Visual Images and Spatial Relationships

For some, vision problems can be a sign of dementia. This can lead to difficulty with balance or trouble reading. They may also have problems judging distance and determining color or contrast, causing issues with driving.

6. New Problems with Words in Speaking or Writing

People with dementia may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word, or call things by the wrong name.

7. Misplacing Things and Losing the Ability to Retrace Steps

A person with dementia may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. In some cases, they may accuse others of stealing, especially as the dementia progresses.

8. Decreased or Poor Judgment

This may include paying less attention to grooming or personal hygiene, or exhibiting poor judgment when dealing with money, like giving large amounts to telemarketers.

9. Withdrawal from Work or Social Activities

A person with dementia may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects, or sports.

10. Changes in Mood and Personality

The mood and personalities of people with dementia can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful, or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends, or in places where they are out of their comfort zone.


Recognizing these signs early can be vital in getting the necessary support and treatment. If you notice any of these signs in yourself or a loved one, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation. Early diagnosis means early access to support, information, and potentially medication which could alleviate some symptoms or slow their progression.

If you or any of your loved ones are experiencing any dementia symptoms and need help, Please contact us today at 0113518 2005