Today there are over 413,000 Australians living with dementia, and that number is expected to increase to nearly 540,000 by the year 2025 (Fighting Dementia). While there is no cure for dementia to date, knowing the early signs of dementia and receiving a timely diagnosis will allow you to maximise your quality of life and start planning for your future.
Mild forgetfulness and memory loss can be a normal part of the ageing process. It can, however, be a sign of a more significant memory issue such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
For those who suspect they or a loved one may have dementia, it is important to recognise the early signs of dementia and to start treatment immediately. Below are the leading early signs of dementia:
Those with dementia might be able to remember events that took place decades ago, but they may not be able to tell you about what they had to eat for lunch.
Other common short-term memory changes a dementia patient may experience include:
These short term lapses in memory will become more frequent, and the memory loss will progress over time.
Another one of the early signs of dementia in Brisbane is struggling to communicate thoughts effectively. People with dementia may have difficulty expressing feelings or explaining something because they cannot find the “right words”. They will also often be more repetitive and ask the same question several times in a single conversation.
Memory loss and lapses in judgement can lead to frustration and confusion. People with dementia may no longer remember the faces of people they have met before. They may also have a more difficult time following a story, or forget where they placed their car keys.
Depending on the individual, someone with dementia may become extremely moody and switch rapidly between different emotions. Alternatively, an individual who was once very emotional may suddenly become more quiet and withdrawn.
Common changes in mood include:
Ordinary daily activities and tasks may become more difficult for someone with dementia to perform over time. Initially, these daily tasks may be a bit more complex in nature (i.e. playing chess or balancing a cheque book), but over time a dementia patient may have a hard time completing regular tasks like figuring out in what order to put on their clothes.
One of the most alarming early signs of dementia is being unable to remember where you were going or how to get home. A dementia patient’s sense of direction will start to deteriorate over time, and they may no longer recognise landmarks once familiar to them.
Caring for a loved one with dementia is not an easy task. Occupational Therapy Brisbane will arrange for a registered experienced occupational therapist to visit the home, assess the needs of yourself and the person with dementia, and create a plan.
We ensure that families have the knowledge, tools, and technology necessary to make their lives and the life of their loved one as comfortable and fulfilling as possible.
To speak with one of our senior therapists for free, we invite you to call 1300 783 200.