What are the most common symptoms of dementia?

On World Alzheimer’s Day (21st September) the Alzheimer’s Society is encouraging everyone to find out about the different types of dementia and be aware of the early signs and symptoms of dementia. 

By understanding dementia in this way, you can support your loved one to get an official diagnosis and subsequently ensure they are getting the right amount of support.

Symptoms of dementia

There are lots of different types of dementia and in turn lots of different symptoms. 

However, because dementia is a disease that affects the brain, a person with dementia is likely to have cognitive symptoms i.e they may experience issues with thinking or memory. 

They may have problems with some of the following:

Short-term memory – difficulty in recalling recent events, such as what they had for breakfast that morning or places they’ve been that week.

Problem solving – someone may experience difficulties in making decisions or carrying out a sequence of tasks, such as cooking a meal or making a cup of tea.

Communication & Language – a person with dementia may struggle following a conversation, or may have trouble recalling the right word for something

Visual perception – problems judging distance, spacial awareness or may see objects in three dimensions.  Some types of dementia may lead to hallucinations, seeing things that aren’t there.

Orientation – a person may lose track of the day or date, or become confused about where they are or how they got there.

Whilst many people associate memory loss with dementia, there are other common symptoms too. 

A person with dementia is likely to have changes in their mood or behaviour.  For example, someone may become easily irritable or frustrated, they may become withdrawn, anxious or easily upset.  Low moods and depression can be caused by a number of factors but can be a common symptom of dementia.

How do symptoms develop?

Dementia is a progressive disease, which means the symptoms will gradually get worse over time.  How fast or slow this happens will vary from person to person. 

As dementia progresses, a person may start to develop behaviours that seem very out of character.  If your loved one is behaving in a way that is not typical for them, you should certainly seek medical advice. 

Changes in behaviour can be very distressing and challenging not only for the person, but also those close to them.

Physical changes

Whilst old age in general brings with it a number of physical changes, dementia may also present itself with physical symptoms.   A person with dementia may experience reduced mobility for example.  Rapid weightloss due to loss of appetite, or simply forgetting to eat could be a sign that your loved one requires more support. 

However, these symptoms could just as easily be attributed to other underlying conditions.  If you are worried about any physical or mental changes in a family member then you should seek advice from a GP to ensure that all avenues are explored. 

What type of dementia support does Home Instead offer?

After a diagnosis dementia, you may find that a package of care could help to support your loved one, and offer family some much needed respite.   With or without dementia, people often need support and assistance as they get older to help them retain as much independence as possible.

At Home Instead, our relationship-centred approach enables our CAREGivers to provide personalised care suited to the needs of the client.  They can ensure that your loved one remains safe and comfortable at home, they will help to build confidence and encourage engagement. 

CAREGivers can also help to look after client’s health and wellbeing by providing healthy, nutritious meals.

All Home Instead CAREGivers have undertaken Dementia Friends information sessions, and many have undertaken additional City & Guilds Dementia training. 

If you are looking for dementia support for a loved one, you can rest assured that we will have the right team in place. 

Contact us to book your free care consultation and find out more about our specialist dementia care.

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