Memory loss is associated with old age. However, not all causes for memory losses are age-related. It might be an early indicator of dementia. You can also detect dementia with other behavioral changes in elderly people.
As we progress in age, our body becomes weak. It experiences various troubles, both physically and mentally. A very common disorder seen in several elderly people is dementia.
As per Medical News Today's definition, the term dementia is used to describe a variety of symptoms, affecting a person's cognitive functioning, including the ability to think, remember or even reason. It is caused due to the dysfunction of nerve cells in the brain.
Though brain deterioration is a part of aging, people affected by dementia experience it more quickly than normal people. According to ASHA, approximately 5.7 million people in the US are living with dementia. It also stated that the numbers are expected to rise, as per global trends.
There are different types of dementia. As per the National Institute on Aging, Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia in the elderly. Just like most illnesses, dementia also starts off with some early signs. If a person experiences two or more of these symptoms continuously and the situation becomes so severe that it interferes with their daily routine, it is important to get yourself checked by a doctor. Here are a few early signs that will help in the detection.
According to Medical News Today, a person affected by dementia cannot remember or follow a conversation. It becomes hard for them to engage in discussions as they tend to forget what they were saying or what somebody else said. Therefore, it becomes difficult for them to carry a conversation forward. Another thing that can be noticed at the onset of the condition is the difference in handwriting and also grammar. It is seen that the punctuation, spellings, and grammar of such people become worse over a period of time.
A sudden retreat into indoor life by a very proactive elder can be concerning according to Medical News Today. A person suffering from dementia may retreat from their active social circles. They might look uninterested in talking to people or engaging in activities they were fond of. They might stop doing anything that involves people such as team sport, social gatherings, etc.
If a person finds it difficult to complete normal tasks, it might be an indicator of dementia. According to Healthline, it starts off with an inability to do familiar complex duties such as playing a board game with a lot of rules or balancing a checkbook. They might soon find it difficult to learn new things or new habits.
This change may not be noticeable by the individual itself but can be easily observed by others. As per Healthline, people at the early stages of dementia undergo depression and other mood swings. Another change that can be seen is the shift in personality. For example, your partner was a shy person, not interested in quality social life, however, he or she has suddenly become an outgoing person.
As per Medical News Today, people with dementia cannot judge the passing of time. They might not be able to remember what they were doing at a specific time or where they were at a particular time. In addition to this, they may no longer remember faces, find the right words or even interact with people normally. This confusion arises due to the memory, thinking or judgment lapses. Confusions can occur in various situations according to Healthline.
People affected by dementia are bound to be repetitive. According to Healthline, this is caused due to memory loss and general behavioral changes. Dementia patients tend to repeat their daily activities such as shaving or collecting things obsessively. It is also observed that they may repeat questions in spite of being answered a couple of times.
This is the most common symptom of dementia. A person with dementia will experience difficulty in recalling information they already know such as the dates of an event. They tend to be more dependant on friends and family for keeping track of such information. Though memory loss is commonly associated with old age, not all memory losses are caused by dementia. If a person can recall the information after a while, it is not a serious concern. However, if he or she completely forgets it, it may be dementia-related.