Posted on Nov 26, 2015
Dementia is an umbrella term for a number of conditions which result in impaired mental capacity. It is caused by physical changes in various parts of the brain. Whilst Alzheimer’s disease is the most common, syndromes such as Lewey bodies and Parkinson’s disease are also forms of dementia. It should be noted that changes in memory and thinking are not necessarily caused by dementia.
Early symptoms of dementia are often subtle. You should look for behaviours that are out of character. A family member who is excellent at crosswords may now find it difficult to complete them. Symptoms of dementia fall under four main categories:
Dementia sufferers may be unable to discuss everyday ideas. A real estate agent may become confused when asked about “hectares”. They may also lose their train of thought during a conversation and change the topic completely.
A loved one may stop doing housework or caring for his or her appearance. The inability to do chores and attend to personal hygiene is a possible symptom of dementia.
The inability to recognise family members, friends or familiar places may be evident. The sufferer may even forget the names of common objects such as “kettle” and substitute words like “thingy” instead.
Difficulties with problem solving may occur. Your loved one may show an inability to plan or do simple mathematics. He or she may start to avoid new situations and become disinterested in learning.
Whilst there is currently no cure for dementia, early diagnosis gives you and your loved one the opportunity to look ahead and ensure quality of life. If your loved one exhibits some of these symptoms, seek a professional opinion as soon as possible.