5 Early Signs Of Dementia

5 Early Signs Of Dementia

This post was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.

When you hear the word “dementia,” what comes to mind? Many people picture a lonely individual in an assisted living facility whose family shows up every now and again to say hi. Due to popular media, you may even associate the word with frightening images, such as someone being held back by men in white coats after the individual forgets where they are. Dementia may carry some negative connotations, but the reality is that every person’s experience with it is unique and should be treated as such. In this article, we will discuss five early signs that could indicate dementia and how to proceed should you notice them in you or a loved one.

What Is Dementia?

Dementia is a general term that refers to a decline in one’s cognitive abilities, including memory, thinking, decision-making, perception, and so on. Alzheimer’s is the most common and well-known type of dementia, but there are also other kinds, including Lewy body dementia, vascular dementia, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, and more. The type of dementia someone has can affect the severity of their symptoms and how quickly the disease progresses. Thus, approaching each case with sensitivity and understanding can be vital.

Dementia typically starts around the age of 65, but it can also develop before then. Although rare, when this happens, it’s considered early-onset dementia. Given that the risk of developing dementia rises the older you get, it’s crucial to take steps to stimulate and strengthen your mind and pay close attention to any possible signs of cognitive decline.

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5 Early Signs Of Dementia

The following are five early signs and symptoms of dementia that could be helpful to be aware of. Whether you see these signs in you or a loved one, recognizing them early on can be key to preventing symptoms from worsening.

  1. Memory problems: We all forget things from time to time, whether it’s where we put our keys or what time we were supposed to meet a friend. However, those who are experiencing early symptoms of dementia may regularly misplace their belongings or miss important meetings and appointments. They may also forget certain words and names of people, struggle to bring tasks to completion, and fail to be able to recall recent events.
  2. Confusion: Confusion can be a common symptom for individuals in the early stages of dementia. For example, they may drive to the store, only to forget why they needed to be there in the first place. Or they might run into someone they know out in public, only to not be able to recall who the individual is. Even everyday tasks can begin to be a struggle.
  3. Inhibited judgment: Dementia can interfere with an individual’s ability to think rationally, causing them to make poor decisions. This lack of judgment might lead them to spend their money recklessly, neglect their hygiene, or even dress in a way that isn’t appropriate for the weather. Sometimes, this can put them in danger, such as when they ignore a medical issue that clearly needs prompt attention. Certain types of counseling, such as those focused on life skills and cognitive stimulation, may be helpful for these individuals— especially when they’re experiencing a co-morbid mental disorder like depression or anxiety. The following link provides more information about different kinds of counseling services that may be worth utilizing: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/counseling/counseling-and-recovery-services-what-works/.
  4. Mood or personality changes: Changes in mood or personality can be common for someone experiencing dementia. They may be more irritable, sad, or suspicious—without any explanation for these changes. Alternatively, they might become more sociable and act unlike themselves in general. As the dementia progresses, it can become progressively harder to recognize them.
  5. Lack of ability to focus: People displaying early symptoms of dementia might have trouble staying focused on the tasks in front of them. It can be easy for them to become distracted, and their attention span may grow increasingly worse. Completing their everyday responsibilities may become more and more difficult, and they might need significant encouragement to start and follow through with simple tasks.

Early intervention and treatment may help slow the progression of dementia. So, if you notice any of the above symptoms in you or a loved one, it can be important to reach out to a medical professional to gain further insight into the state of your or your loved one’s health.


Noticing that you or a loved one is experiencing some of the common signs of dementia can be disheartening. However, it can be essential not to jump to conclusions, as many other physical and mental health conditions can create similar symptoms. Getting a professional involved can help ensure that timely and appropriate steps are taken to safeguard your well-being, or that of your loved one. While dementia may be difficult to cope with, there are lots of resources and support options available that can nurture a more productive, happy life.