It is estimated that there are over 850,000 people with dementia in the UK. It is expected that this figure will rise to 1 million people by 2025 which means it’s becoming ever more important to know and understand what dementia is. Additionally, an Alzheimer’s Society investigation reveals the shocking side effect lockdown has had this year on the symptoms of people with dementia. Involving almost 2,000 respondents affected by dementia, it shows that since being forced to stay isolated and inside their homes, more than four in five (82%) reported a deterioration in people with dementia symptoms. September is World’s Alzheimer’s Month and as such, Luca Rado, co-founder of Helpd Ltd – specialists in live-in home care across the UK spoke exclusively with Express.co.uk to discuss the early signs of dementia.
Of those who had seen a decline since lockdown, around half reported increased memory loss (50 percent) and difficulty concentrating (48 percent).
More than one in four (27 percent) said reading and writing has become more difficult, and one in three said the same for speaking and understanding speech (33 percent).
For those who are worried about dementia, there are some common symptoms which may be easy to spot and which concern language, communication, ability to concentrate and reasoning.
Short term memory
Luca said: “A typical early sign of dementia is experiencing short term memory loss.
“A common sign is misplacing essential items such as keys or forgetting what they for breakfast that morning.
“These day to day occurrences can often be an early indicator, particularly if they are a recurring problem.”
Change in mood
“A significant shift in mood or character is another early sign of dementia,” explained Luca.
She continued: “This is a change that sufferers are often unable to detect in themselves but is an indicator that family members can usually pick up on.
“Because dementia affects judgement and self-awareness, how an individual thinks they are acting or how they see themselves is less of a consideration.
“Apathy, in this sense, is another change to look out for.”
Apathy and listlessness
Luca added: “Another early sign of dementia is a general loss of interest in day to day activities and hobbies that were previously enjoyed.
“This is often because dementia affects thought and memory and so the individual may not even consider partaking in the hobby, simply because the thought to do it is no longer there.”
Lack of focus and disorientation
Feeling disorientated is another early sign of dementia.
Luca explained: “Lacking focus and feeling out of sorts can sometimes be a sign of ageing but it is important to be mindful of how this affects day-to-day activities.
“If disorientation occurs frequently and begins to cause distress, it is likely to be a sign of dementia and may be worth consulting a medical professional.”
“Situations, where quick decisions are second nature, can become a struggle for those who are suffering from dementia,” said Luca.
“Any unusual, rash actions that are out of character and a potential cause for concern are typical for those with dementia.
“An example of this would be deciding to take essential belongings to a charity shop or wearing clothing that is inappropriate for the weather.
“Poor judgement also encompasses spatial awareness, and therefore clumsiness.”
Losing a sense of direction
“If a loved one suddenly struggles to remember familiar routes, this could be a cause for concern,” warned Luca.
“Forgetting simple directions or routes to familiar places is a common symptom of dementia and should be monitored, as it can often lead to sufferers getting lost or ending up in dangerous places.”
Struggling to communicate thoughts
Another sign of dementia is difficulty in communicating thoughts and emotions.
Luca further explained: “Someone with dementia may get confused with wording and struggle to express their point of view naturally and this is because dementia affects communication and language.
“Skills such as word formation and memory are slowly affected over time and should be discussed with a medical professional if these symptoms start to worsen.”
Familiar tasks becoming challenging
Luca said: “Simple and familiar tasks like making a cup of tea or locking a door can become challenging for those suffering from dementia as brain function and cognitive activity start to deteriorate.
“This can occur suddenly or over time and leads to simple tasks or basic routine unexpectedly requiring a lot of thought and energy.”
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