Startling Signs You’re Going to Get Dementia

Early signs of dementia can often be mistaken for regular aging. While minor forgetfulness is a normal sign of aging, there are stark differences between someone who is developing dementia and someone who is aging normally. Here’s what to look for to know if you’re slowly developing this serious condition.

Subtle forgetfulness

Thinking young woman looking up at many question marks

Do you remember what you had for lunch yesterday? | iStock.com/SIphotography

If you recently attended an event and have trouble remembering specific details, it could be a sign of dementia, Healthline says. An example could be attending a concert and not remembering the songs that were played. Also, you might make a delicious omelet for breakfast but forget what you put in it. However, an event that occurred years ago could still feel fresh in your mind.

Next: Do you worry a lot? 

Worrying about your memory

Young miserable depressed man

Don’t obsess over potential memory problems. | iStock.com/KatarzynaBialasiewicz

Reader’s Digest reported that a number of studies presented at a conference for Alzheimer’s noted that those who worried about memory loss could already be facing it. These people were more likely to have Alzheimer’s plaques present in the brain. With dementia, it’s common for the individual to notice something is off before those around them notice.

Next: The daily grind gets tough.

Difficulty completing day-to-day tasks

Man organizing toys

Are you starting to have trouble completing day-to-day tasks? | KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images

If a task requires a lot of steps, someone with early signs of dementia may forget what these steps are. Playing a board game with family members could make you realize you can’t learn and retain all of the rules. You might consistently have a routine for your daily chores, but suddenly find that you can’t remember it.

Next: Problems become more complex.

Difficulty with problem solving

Woman using planner on laptop

Not being able to put together a schedule can be an early sign of dementia. | iStock.com/Rawpixel

Problem solving is an unavoidable task. Something like creating a daily, time-strict schedule can be difficult for someone with early-stage dementia. If Susan pushes your lunch plans back a few hours, you may find it hard to plan your day around the new time. Creating a daily budget might seem impossible, as numbers can become increasingly difficult to work with.

Next: Communication issues arise.

Struggling to communicate thoughts

Aged patient receives the visit of a female black doctor

Communication may become more difficult. | iStock.com/diego_cervo

It’s hard when you can’t find the words to describe how you feel. If this happens frequently, it’s a strong sign of dementia. While it’s common to occasionally lose your train of thought during a story, alz.org reports that if it continues, it’s worth mentioning to your doctor. If you’re speaking and suddenly can’t remember the name of something simple (such as forgetting what a “necklace” is called), it’s another sign something is wrong.

Next: You’re saying the same thing twice. 

Repetitiveness

mature couple having a glass of wine at campsite

Consistently telling the same story isn’t a good sign. | iStock.com/Jacob Ammentorp Lund

In addition to not being able to find the right words, a sign of dementia is also saying the same thing twice. Repeating parts of a story more than once, or completely telling the story over again just a few minutes after saying it, are both signs that your short term memory may be failing.

Next: Story lines become blurred.

Struggling to follow a story

Couple talking outdoors in a park with a green background

Can you follow along when someone is telling a story? | AntonioGuillem/Getty Images

If someone wants to tell you about a crazy thing that happened at the grocery store today, you might find it tough to follow what they’re saying. It can be hard to remember all of the details and fully put the story together by the time they’re done. The finished story won’t make sense, leaving you feeling confused and defeated.

Next: Loneliness kicks in. 

Social withdrawal

Sad woman on the bed with husband in background

Withdrawing from friends and loved ones is an early sign of dementia. | iStock.com/Wavebreakmedia

When communicating gets difficult, it can result in social withdrawal. If you find that you’re no longer as interested in going out with friends because you’re worried about your subtle forgetfulness, dementia could be the cause.

Next: You’re not yourself.

Personality or mood shift

Sad man looking out of window

Your friends may notice a shift in your mood before you do. | iStock.com

A depressed attitude is common in the beginning stages of dementia. This change in mood is not always noticeable within yourself. You might blame it on feeling tired or a bit down, but usually, others will notice it first. Healthline reported that judgement can affect mood, causing people to switch from shy to more outgoing.

Next: You feel lost. 

Confusion

Confused woman

Someone with dementia will have trouble figuring out what day it is. | iStock.com

Everyone has had a moment where they forget what day it is. With dementia, this happens more often. Losing track of passing time is a big red flag. This is different from getting lost in a book for hours or working on something for longer than planned. People with dimentia forget what day it is and can’t remember on their own. With common aging, people might forget what today is, but they’ll remember a minute later.

Next: You’re losing interest. 

Apathy

Man struggling to play tennis

You may start to lose interest in your favorite activities. | iStock.com

A lack of interest often develops in dementia patients because their memory loss creates a change in habits. Someone who used to love playing tennis with friends might no longer be emotionally engaged in the sport. People with early stage dementia typically become more apathetic of daily activities.

Next: Items are disappearing. 

Misplacing items

hand opening a door with keys

Your keys may start to disappear out of thin air. | danny4stockphoto/iStock/Getty Images

Sunglasses, car keys, wallets — everyone has misplaced something now and then. However, in those with dementia, there is never a quick realization of where it is. If you’re searching high and low for your car keys, and they’re right on the table where they usually are, it’s worth consulting a doctor.

Next: You want the same routine. 

Resistance to change

Senior Asian Couple Sitting In Park

Sticking to a routine will help ensure you don’t forget things. | iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages

As dementia starts to take over, you might worry about forgetting people’s names or forgetting why you went to the store. That can cause you to develop a routine that you never stray from, because if you go somewhere and forget why, you’ll look silly. You can become resistant to any sort of change in this routine for fear that others will notice your memory struggle.

Next: You’re losing money. 

Poor judgement

Hundred dollar bills money

Your spending habits may start to get a little out of hand. | SARINYAPINNGAM/iStock/Getty Images

If you’re developing dementia, your judgment starts to dwindle. You might give away copious amounts of money to family, charities, etc. without realizing what it’s doing to your bank account. If you crack open a bottle of wine, you might forget how many drink you’ve had. It can lead to dangerous habits that you don’t even know you’ve created.

Next: You’re becoming a stranger to your own neighborhood. 

Losing sense of direction

hands on steering wheel

Your own neighborhood may become a mystery. | iStock.com/anyaberkut

Forgetfulness can show up any time, and driving is no exception. With dementia, you tend to forget where you’re going or how to get there. You find yourself lost in a place that used to be familiar. Recognizing regular landmarks might become difficult, too.

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