10 warning signs of dementia and how to address them
Dementia is a devastating disease that can ruin your life and the lives of those around you. It is crucial to know the signs and symptoms of dementia to treat it. The 2018 Malaysian National Health and Morbidity Survey revealed that 8.5% of those aged 60 years and above have the risk of having a mental illness. (Institute for Public Health, 2018)
There are different types of dementia, but they all boil down to the general loss of memory. It's an illness that causes the brain cells to deteriorate and die faster than normal. The two most common types of illness are Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. (Dementia | Under Stand Together, n.d.)
Life expectancy has an impact on conditions such as cognitive decline and dementia. It is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that is on the rise globally. Because its cause is unknown, it's difficult to find a proper and exact cure. Identifying risk factors will assist in predicting and preventing the severe stage of mental sickness in many people with the problem. (Dementia | Under Stand Together, n.d.) The following are 10 of the most common warning signs of dementia.
Memory loss that affects daily functioning
- One of the first and common signs is memory loss. Sometimes we forget appointments, colleagues' names, or a friend's number to remember them a short time later. People living with dementia may forget things more often or have difficulty recalling information they have recently learned. To cope with this disease, the Michigan Alzheimer's Disease Center's Biostatistics and Data Core's director, Hiroko Dodge, Ph.D., recommends staying socially active. You can read more about five ways to prevent memory loss from dementia. (Renee Gadwa, 2017)
Concentration problems and confusion
- Confusing times and places is a typical indicator. Dementia patients may be unable to remember where they are or how they got there, or they may get lost trying to find familiar locations. As their condition worsens, some people have difficulty telling what is happening now versus what happened in the past. As a result, they can lose sight of the seasons and the general passage of time, leading to showing up for social events or appointments at the wrong time or not showing up at all.
Problems with speech
- The inability to communicate thoughts is one of the early signs of dementia. Patients may have difficulty describing things or finding the correct words to express themselves. The conversation may take longer than usual to end when a senior has dementia.
Time or place unclear
- Dementia can impair one's ability to gauge the passage of time. Patients may also lose track of where they are at any time. They may struggle with dates and find it challenging to grasp occurrences in the future or the past.
- There will be times when people make questionable decisions, such as delaying seeing a physician when they feel ill. Dementia patients may also face changes in judgment or decision-making. For instance, they are less likely to recognize the need for medical attention or choose to wear heavy clothing in hot weather.
Problems with abstract thinking
- Occasionally, people have difficulty performing abstract thinking tasks, such as using a calculator or balancing a checkbook. A person with this illness may struggle to complete these tasks because of difficulty understanding numbers and their meaning.
Difficulty doing familiar tasks
- It may be difficult for a person with dementia to do everyday tasks, such as operating a computer, making tea, or going to a familiar place. These difficulties could occur at work or at home.
Personality Changes and Mood Swings
- Mood swings and personality changes may occur suddenly in patients. Anxiety, paranoia, fear, or depression can set in. Confident people might become hesitant and timid. When unfamiliar with an environment, they can quickly become upset and frustrated.
- Anyone can lose their wallet or keys. Someone with dementia might put things in the wrong place repeatedly. In most cases like these, stress is involved, but if you or someone you know loses important items constantly, it might be a cause for concern.
Withdrawing from Friends and Family
- Withdrawing from social activities and opportunities senior citizens once enjoyed may also be a warning sign. Individuals with this condition avoid situations like these to avoid drawing attention to their memory lapses or communication difficulties. After regularly interacting with friends and family, someone with dementia soon realizes that they are unable to converse with them or perform tasks as easily as they once did. As a result of this change in abilities, depression, and anxiety can also lead to withdrawal from social situations. (Livewell, 2020)
The good news is that you can take steps to reduce the effects of dementia, even if you cannot prevent it entirely. Although more research is needed, you might benefit from these few tips:
- Brain stimulation activities, like reading, solving puzzles, and playing word games, as well as memory training, can delay dementia onset and reduce its effects.
- Social interaction and physical activity may delay the onset of dementia and reduce its symptoms. You should exercise for 150 minutes each week.
- Several studies have shown that smoking can lead to dementia and blood vessel problems in middle age and beyond. Giving up smoking can reduce your risk and help your overall health.
- Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia are more likely to occur in people with low vitamin D levels in their blood. Vitamin D comes from foods, supplements, and sunlight.
- There isn't enough evidence to recommend increasing your vitamin D intake to prevent dementia, but getting enough vitamin D is essential. Additionally, taking vitamin C daily and a B-complex vitamin may help.
- Practice sleeping for 6 hours or more per night. When you snore loudly, stop breathing during sleep, or gasp while sleeping, you should talk to your doctor. (Yaw, n.d.)
You can also visit Beehive2u.com for more on brain supplement products for healthy living.
Dementia | Under Stand Together. (n.d.). Retrieved from www.understandtogether.ie: https://www.understandtogether.ie/about-dementia/what-is-dementia/types-of-dementia/
Institute for Public Health. (2018). Mental Health. In N. I. Health, The National Health and Morbidity Survey 2018: Elderly Health (pp. 20-21). Shah Alam: Institute for Public Health.
Livewell. (2020, August 18). Livewell. Retrieved from Livewell.care: 2020
Renee Gadwa, M. (2017, June 15). Michigan Health. Retrieved from www.healthblog.uofmhealth.org: https://healthblog.uofmhealth.org/brain-health/5-ways-to-protect-your-memory-from-dementia
Yaw, D. (n.d.). Homage. Retrieved from www.homage.com: https://www.homage.com.my/health/dementia-101/
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