Dementia unveiled: identifying symptoms and finding clarity

Dementia unveiled: identifying symptoms and finding clarity

Dementia affects millions of people worldwide and is more common among older people. It involves the loss of cognitive function, including a loss of memory, language and problem-solving abilities due to damage to the brain. It’s not actually a disease in itself, rather, it’s a collection of the symptoms resulting from diseases such as Alzheimer’s – the most common cause of dementia.

Different types of dementia affect people differently. But there are some common early signs and symptoms to look out for in yourself or in others. Some of these might begin appearing a long time before a person receives a diagnosis.

The first signs of dementia include:

  • Memory loss, especially when it happens frequently or starts to interfere with daily life
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Getting confused about time, place and familiar daily tasks
  • Struggling to follow a conversation, finding the right word or using words incorrectly
  • Changes to mood or personality
  • Difficulty navigating social situations
  • Losing interest in familiar activities

These symptoms may start off being very mild, and you may not notice them in yourself or in others at first. The term ‘mild cognitive impairment’ is sometimes used when symptoms are present but not severe enough for the person to receive a dementia diagnosis.

Not everyone who experiences mild symptoms will go on to be diagnosed with dementia. But some people do and it’s important to speak to your GP if you’re worried about your memory or other symptoms.

It’s important to know that dementia isn’t a natural part of ageing, and spotting the signs sooner rather than later means it’s more likely that progress can be slowed and mental function maintained for longer.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for dementia. However there are treatments and medicines available that may help with symptoms.

What are the different dementia stages?

Dementia is progressive and can be categorised into three broad stages:

Early stage dementia

The early stages of dementia can be difficult to identify, and many people don’t realise that the symptoms they are experiencing is early onset dementia. Symptoms are often mild, and may not interfere with daily life to a great extent.

Middle stage dementia

As the condition progresses, symptoms begin to have more of an effect on a person’s everyday life. It is at this stage that most people receive a full diagnosis, and this is beneficial as it means the right level of care can be put in place to improve and prolong quality of life.

A person’s symptoms will probably get worse over the course of this stage, which can be lengthy. They may also experience behaviour changes, delusions or hallucinations. But with the right treatment and the care, the middle stages of dementia can remain manageable.

Late stage dementia

It’s likely that a person living with advanced dementia will no longer be capable of looking after themselves or communicating their emotions and needs to others. Therefore 24-hour care is usually required.

The later stages of dementia can become very challenging for the person, and those around them. But it is still very important for a person to retain dignity and quality of life, and this is possible with the right level of personalised care.

For more information about dementia or to discuss care options for yourself or a loved one, speak to Wessex Care.

Welcome to the Wessex Care Blog. With the latest news, blogs and updates from The Wessex Care team – Quality care home providers in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

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