Would you know if you were experiencing dementia? It can be one of those conditions that creeps up slowly, causing such gradual changes that many of us aren’t even aware that they’re happening. But because dementia can seriously impact your quality of life, or even endanger you, it is important to be aware of the warning signs.
If you experience any of the following signs, or notice them in your spouse, it’s time to talk to your doctor about dementia. Please note that these signs don’t automatically equal a dementia diagnosis; they simply mean that you might be at increased risk and should be examined more closely by a professional. Sometimes completely healthy people experience these signs, and do not actually have dementia.
- It becomes more difficult to do daily tasks that you’ve always done, like pay bills or cook a meal. You might find it more difficult to follow instructions, concentrate, or finish tasks. It might take longer to do them than before.
- Asking questions repeatedly, even after hearing the answer, is a cause for concern. Likewise, telling the same story over and over might signal the onset of dementia.
- Communication becomes more difficult. For example, you can’t think of the names of people or common objects, you lose your train of thought, or you can’t follow what someone else is saying.
- You observe personality changes, such as anxiety, depression, fearfulness, or suspiciousness that seem new. Or you notice that dealing with changes or minor frustrations becomes more difficult.
- Forgetting what day it is, where you are, or how you got there can be cause for concern, especially if it happens frequently.
- You get lost, such as while driving or within a shopping mall.
- Problems with self-care, such as bathing and grooming, often manifest with dementia. A patient might also exhibit “irresponsible” or “careless” behavior, such as making decisions about money or personal safety.
Again, some people can experience the above symptoms on occasion, but do not have dementia. But you should mention them to your doctor so that proper screenings can be ordered. Some conditions can mimic dementia but are actually treatable when properly diagnosed.