According to dictionary.com, dementia is defined as a severe impairment or loss of intellectual capacity and personality integration, due to the loss or damage to neurons in the brain. Essentially, those affected with the disease lose most or all ability to adequately function in society and need constant care. Anyone who has spent an extended period of time with a person who has dementia or has acted as a caregiver for a dementia patient, will tell you that the disease can progress extremely rapidly and that caregiving can become overwhelming. Knowing that, it’s important to understand and be able to recognize the early onset signals of dementia. This way, if you’re ever in the unfortunate position of having to care for someone suffering the disease, you’ll hopefully be able to plan accordingly and help create a comfortable life for him or her.
Many symptoms of dementia in the early onset are very subtle, so it’s important to pay close attention to the behavior of your aging relatives or friends. Short-term memory loss is perhaps the most prevalent symptom associated with dementia, but don’t get overly concerned if your loved one becomes forgetful as they age. It’s a well known fact that memory loss is extremely common amongst the senior community. You should start to worry, however, if short-term memory loss is coupled with trouble focusing, communicating, and just speaking in general.
Mood swings are very common in people who have dementia. If you start to notice that your loved one is showing signs of depression for no real reason, this could be a red flag. Changes in mood are usually attributed to the fact that the receptors in the brain that evaluate judgment are affected when dementia sets in.
Difficulties staying organized or performing simple daily tasks are key indicators of dementia. Common day-to-day chores such as folding laundry or putting away the groceries may become a real burden. As dementia sets in on the brain, immediate short term memory becomes fleeting, so those affected may be in the middle of a simple chore and all of the sudden forget what they were doing or why. Dementia patients lose the ability to reason in many cases, so folding a shirt just may not make sense any longer.
Becoming paranoid and easily agitated is perhaps the most upsetting sign of early onset dementia. Watching your loved one become frustrated and angry at trivial parts of daily life because they can’t understand them any longer is truly sad. If you start to notice that your loved one gets agitated by being in a crowd or even just at a family gathering where people are talking loudly when they were once a very social person, it may be time to visit your doctor.
Other symptoms such as hallucinations, feeling disoriented, misplacing things, and problems with language should definitely be paid close attention to. While, unfortunately, there is no cure for dementia, you can mitigate your risk by eating a healthy diet and exercising (both your muscles and your brain).
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