According to the World Health Organization, the number of people with dementia could reach 65.7 million in 2030 and 115.4 million in 2050. With this number increasing, it is important to recognize the early warning signs so you can begin planning your future while you still have control. An early diagnosis means you can get the support, advice, information, and treatment when you need it most. It also means earlier treatment which could greatly improve your quality of life later on.
With that in mind, it is important to be able to notice the signs and symptoms of dementia in you or a loved one. The following are things to look for at each stage of dementia.
The early stages of dementia start small but they do increase gradually. These early signs are often mistaken as signs of “getting older”. Signs include:
- being forgetful
- frequently losing track of the time
- becoming lost in familiar places
- misunderstanding spoken and written words
As dementia progresses, it can cause further problems. These signs start to become more obvious at this stage of dementia. They include:
- forgetting common facts and people’s names
- having difficulty communicating with others
- repeating questions
- wandering, restlessness and agitation
In the later stages of dementia, you will become dependent on others for your care. Symptoms include:
- being unaware of the time and the place
- difficulty recognizing friends and family
- needing help to shower and use the toilet
- finding it difficult to walk or not being able to walk at all
- loss of bladder control
- increased aggression and unusual behavior, such as rocking backwards and forwards or using repetitive movements
These symptoms may or may not affect everyone with dementia and are not specific to a type of dementia. If you think you or a loved one may be experiencing these symptoms, talk to a doctor to rule out any other illnesses.