With age, just like other body functions, the mind too begins to slow down. This could lead to problems in communication, focus, recall, reasoning, and thinking. So with dementia, the person faces problems which are a combination of above-mentioned activities. Dementia is a symptom associated with many diseases and is not a disease on its own.
Alzheimer’s is the main cause of dementia, followed by stroke or brain injury, Huntington’s disease, and Lewy body disease. However, there are some symptoms that can be indicative that a person is gradually progressing into dementia. Watching out for these symptoms can help one seek help at an early stage, thereby helping the affected person, and slowing down its progress.
- Short term memory loss: With age, people tend to forget what happened recently, and this can even be something as recent as the previous day. However, they can very clearly recollect events from the past. They might forget things like where they have placed their glasses, where the television remote control is, etc. They may also ask for the same information repeatedly, even after it is answered.
- Mood changes: Rapid mood swings is observed in a person suffering from dementia. Their emotions keep changing within a matter of seconds, and they may show also less emotion than what they used to show previously.
- Personality changes: Since dementia affects reasoning and judgment, someone who was earlier shy could suddenly become outgoing. Their inhibitions which led to a shy personality are lost, making them more outgoing.
- Difficulty in performing regular tasks: Be it forgetting things like laying out tables, keeping things back in their places, or organising medical kits, with dementia setting in, these tasks slowly become more difficult to do. Also, learning new tasks, even simple ones, seem tough and are often not accomplished.
- Losing storylines: The elderly would usually be good with telling and appreciating stories like telling tales to their grandchildren or following television soaps and stories. However, as dementia begins to set in, they tend to lose storylines, both when observing and telling.
- Repeating actions: As they are not able to register things, they tend to repeat things, both in words and in actions.
- Feeling lost: Things like heading out to a store to buy something and then wondering why they came there are common. Short-term memory loss can cause such situations. This confusion, especially with regard to time and things, is very common.
- Spatial and time orientation: There could be problems relating to space and time, seasons, and they may often ask questions like what time it is, etc. Routine tasks like paying bills, cooking using recipe books, which were easily managed, suddenly begin to look difficult.
- Apathy: Losing interest in people, hobbies, or other things like puzzles, which they once enjoyed, become boring and unenjoyable. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Psychiatrist.