With 209,600 cases of dementia predicted to develop this year, and cases said to reach 1.6 million by 2040, early detection of the brain condition is key to help medical professionals to slow down the progression of the disease. UK based charity Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) shared the “early signs” of dementia. Three possible indications include:
- Struggling to remember a name
- Struggling to follow a conversation
- Struggling to recall what they did yesterday.
“Changes in a person in the early stages of dementia can be so gradual they can often be mistaken for normal ageing,” SCIE cautioned.
“Because dementia affects people in different ways, symptoms may not always be obvious.”
Questions to ask include:
- Are they forgetting the names of friends or everyday objects?
- Are they finding it difficult to follow a TV programme?
- Do they repeat things over and over again?
- Are there any issues with thinking or reasoning skills?
- What are the key differences between forgetfulness and dementia?
Misplacing house keys, forgetting an acquaintance’s name, or forgetting why you entered a specific room can be down to usual memory lapses.
Such memory lapses may seem more prominent when feeling stressed or suffering from low mood.
A person with dementia, on the other hand, will begin to have a failing short-term memory that has an impact on their work, social, or home life.
Instead of forgetting where the remote control is, for example, a person with dementia may forget what a TV remote is used for.
Difficulties might arise with recognising familiar faces, such as the current Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
To illustrate, instead of using the word sun, they might describe it as a shiny red ball in the sky.
Increasing difficulty with understanding jokes or picking up on subtle or hidden meanings may also become more apparent.
If any any point you are concerned about a loved one’s memory, they should be encouraged to visit a doctor.
Keeping on top of your brain functioning involves regular health check-ups with your doctor.