There are various symptoms of dementia depending both on the primary cause and the individual. Nearly everyone with dementia experience some, but not all these symptoms. They may be very evident, or they may not be distinguished for some time. Loss of short-term memory is often the very first sign of dementia. This involves immediately forgetting where one has placed an item or repeating the things that he just said. Below are some of the other signs and symptoms of dementia.
-Difficulty finding the right word to express one's thought.
-Forgetting things, names, schedules, or whether or not he has already done some something.
-Having trouble doing everyday tasks such as cooking, managing personal finances, household chores, and driving.
-Changes in personality, such as a quiet person suddenly becoming unrefined and silly or an outgoing person becoming reserved.
-Mood swings, which is often accompanied with short periods of rage or anger.
-Problems in behavior such as suspiciousness and paranoia.
-Lower level of functioning but still able to keep up with established home routines.
-Bewilderment, confusion in new places, which may lead to the individual trying to go back to his familiar environment.
Symptoms of Intermediate Dementia
-Symptoms in early dementia becoming worse, and having less ability to make up for them.
-Losing the ability to perform activities of daily living such as dressing, grooming, bathing, and feeding, without others helping them.
-Disordered sleep (every so often sleeping during the day until nighttime).
-Lack of ability to learn new things.
-Becoming more and more confused and disoriented even in familiar places.
-Being more prone to falls and accidents because of their poor judgment and confusion.
-Disorders in behavior such as aggressiveness, paranoid delusions, agitation, unfitting sexual behavior.
-Confabulation or thinking that a person has experienced or done something which never really occurred.
-Poor concentration, inattentiveness, and being indifferent toward the outside world.
-Uncharacteristic moods such as depression and anxiety.
Symptoms of Severe dementia
-Symptoms of early and intermediate dementia becoming worse.
-Total dependence on other people for doing activities of daily living.
-May not be able to move from one place to another or walk without the assistance of other people.
-Losing the ability to do simple things such as swallowing (which increases their risk of choking), being undernourished, and aspiration.
-Total loss of memory, both short-term and long-term. When this happens they may not be able to identify even their close family and friends.
-Complications such as malnutrition, dehydration, infections, issues with bladder control, aspiration, pressure sores, seizures, injuries from falls or accidents.
People who are affected with dementia may not be aware of these symptoms of dementia or the problems involving them, particularly the behavior problems. This is particularly true in those who have severe dementia.
Depression in older people can result in symptoms similar to that of dementia. Around 40% of individuals with dementia also have depression. Symptoms of depression commonly include loss of interest in things that they used to enjoy, depressed mood, alienation from others, weight loss or gain, sleep disturbances, suicidal thoughts, loss of ability to concentrate or think clearly, and feelings of being worthless.
When to Seek Medical Care
A senior with dementia may not realize that he has a problem. In most cases, it is the caring relative or friend who often brings individuals affected with dementia to medical attention. If an individual has two or more of the symptoms of dementia discussed above, then he should be brought to his health care provider as soon as possible.
While it is true that a senior with dementia must be under constant medical care, it is his family who handles most of the daily care. The focus of medical care is to improve the health and quality of life of the senior while family members have to cope with the difficulty of caring for a senior loved one with dementia. However, family members alone may not be sufficient to help a senior with dementia. Seeking professional help is necessary to ensure that the patient receives the necessary help. In-home care for seniors with dementia involves cooperation among caregivers and health professionals to create an environment that is both comfortable and safe for them as well as make daily living tasks as simple as possible.
Early diagnosis of dementia can cause those affected to cooperate with their caregivers and doctors to plan for the future and organize their home and daily living tasks. Because dementia develops at various rates in different people, it is possible for a senior to have several, or even years, of unchanging functioning. Hence, seniors with dementia can stay active both physically and mentally even for years.