Spotting the First Signs of Dementia


Around 850,0001 people across the UK are living with dementia right now. If you’re reading this a few months or even a year from now – that number will have increased significantly. Of course, the disease doesn’t only affect those suffering from the condition – but their families and close friends as well. 24.6 million2 people in our country know of (and possibly care for), people living with dementia. Combining those figures, with the UK population currently estimated at 66.87m3, this means that dementia affects well over the third of people in the UK, at just over 38%.

It’s important to be able to recognise the early symptoms of dementia, whether you experience them yourself personally, or you notice a friend or family member exhibiting them. Your local care home is there to provide dementia care and respite care and relief for both your loved one and you as a carer, should you need it; but first – let us look at the early warning signs.

Some of the Early Signs of Dementia4

1. Forgetfulness, memory lapses and loss and not being able to remember what was done during certain periods of time.

We all forget things from time to time – but watch out for anything out of character. Is a relative or friend consistently forgetting where their keys are – despite the fact that they always leave them in the same place? Are they missing regular appointments because they consistently forget? Do they keep asking the same question repeatedly?

2. Difficulty concentrating.

Again, a universal trait for all of us, but when you, or a friend of relative starts to not be able to focus on a crossword, or on reading the newspaper, or even just on following a television programme – then that might be an early warning sign.

3. Finding it generally difficult to complete daily chores and tasks.

Forgetting certain regular items at supermarkets, having difficulty with the process of tidying up or cleaning the home or vacuuming. Getting confused over the correct change given in shops, for example, or having difficulty figuring out which order to put items of clothing on in the morning, and again in the evening or having difficulty making a decision and following a sequence of tasks. Another symptom may be losing one’s way in a familiar place or on a familiar journey.

4. Problems with conversation and language.

The inability to recall particular well-known words and phrases might cause a degree of frustration. Sometimes symptoms can include forgetting how words are spelled – eg leading to ‘banana’ becoming ‘cranatan’ (a potential example) – with the individual adamant that their version of the word is the correct one, thus leading to more confusion. They may have difficulty following a conversation and may keep repeating themselves.

5. Unusually poor judgement in everyday situations.5

Excessive expenditure of unnecessary items when money is tight, dressing inappropriately for the local climate and weather, as well as perhaps leaving the house without being fully dressed or losing track of time and days and dates.

Dementia Care at Paxton Hall

Paxton Hall is a Residential Care Home in Cambridgeshire set in beautiful grounds, which provides long term and respite Dementia Care, with trained staff dedicated to the constant care of the residents in a safe, secure and serene environment. If you are concerned about yourself, or someone you know, you can seek advice from the Alzheimer’s Society, the NHS, and of course discuss your concerns with your GP (ideally bringing the person with the symptoms with you).

[Sources]
[1] https://www.dementiastatistics.org/statistics/numbers-of-people-in-the-uk/ | Retrieved 19/06/2019
[2] Ibid.
[3] https://www.statista.com/statistics/263754/total-population-of-the-united-kingdom/ | Retrieved 19/06/2019
[4] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dementia/symptoms/ | Retrieved 19/06/2019
[5] https://www.alz.co.uk/info/early-symptoms | Retrieved 19/06/2019