Our memory systems are essential to our day-to-day existence. Most of us probably take our own abilities to remember for granted, for example, where we placed something a short time ago, being able to put names to faces, washing and dressing, preparing food, enjoying hobbies, paying bills, driving and so on are all accepted parts of our daily routines.
As we get older it is not uncommon to be aware of a slight deterioration in memory. For the majority of individuals, this amounts to no more than slight forgetfulness and does not progress to cause any significant problem. However, some people do experience a progressive decline in their memory and other brain functions, which eventually develop into dementia. To decide what the underlying problem is takes time and often requires specialist assessment. Symptoms of dementia may develop gradually and go unnoticed for a long time, so it helps to be informed to know when to be concerned and visit your GP. Here are the top 6 common dementia symptoms:
Short-term memory changes
Trouble with memory can be an early symptom of dementia. Changes can often be subtle and tend to involve issues with short-term memory. For example, people may be able to remember events that took place years ago but not what they did yesterday. This decline in short term memory has an impact on work, social life and everyday tasks.
Symptoms also include things like forgetting to do simple household jobs, forgetting shopping lists or struggling to recall recent events.
Disorientation (confusion about time/place)
Suffering from disorientation can also be a symptom of dementia. People experiencing disorientation can get lost in a familiar place and/or environment and struggle with keeping track of time.
Another early symptom of dementia is struggling to communicate and having difficulty explaining something or finding the right words to express yourself. It can also mean struggling to understand other people’s sentences as well as your own. Writing and speech can both be affected by dementia.
Difficulty with everyday tasks
People suffering from dementia may start to find it difficult to complete tasks that used to be done with ease. This might involve having trouble driving to a familiar location, organising a shopping list, remembering a familiar recipe or remembering rules of a favourite game.
This symptom may sound common, as misplacing objects can happen to anyone. However, a sign of dementia means misplacing things in an unusual way, storing things where they do not belong, repeatedly. For example, placing shoes in a food cabinet.
Mood and personality changes can be associated with early signs of dementia. Social interactions, or the lack thereof, can be a symptom of dementia. When being faced with some of the symptoms, like memory loss, someone with early dementia symptoms can react in ways that are unusual to their usual selves.
It is important to know that symptoms of dementia may develop gradually and go unnoticed for a long time. Also, some people may refuse to act, even when they know something is wrong.
If you or someone you know is showing symptoms associated with dementia, it is important to visit a GP as soon as possible. Alternatively, at Glasgow Memory Clinic, we offer a memory screening service for those over 50 who are concerned about memory decline and who are potentially interested in participating in our research program. For more information on this, please call us on 0141 948 0206 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted 24th February 2020