Warning Signs Of Dementia

The Most Common Signs

It’s important to know common signs. If you notice them, you can write them  down and follow up with a doctor. This list is not meant to be a diagnostic  tool. That means that if you see these signs, it doesn’t automatically mean the  person has dementia. Always follow up with a doctor if you notice any of these  common warning signs. 

Man and woman talking over coffee

More Difficulty With Everyday Tasks

You may notice the person having a harder time completing everyday tasks that  are familiar to them. Some examples include having difficulty: 

  • Following a recipe  
  • Driving to their local bank
  • Making a grocery list

Changes In How They Speak 

Have you noticed that it has become more challenging to communicate with the  person? An early warning sign of dementia is noticing changes in how a person  speaks. Examples include: 

  • Stopping mid-sentence 
  • Repeating themselves 
  • Trouble finding words  
  • Difficulty following conversations  
  • Using the wrong word to describe something  

Getting Disoriented With Time & Place 

When someone is disoriented or confused with time and place, they often make  mistakes. Examples of mistakes include: 

  • Getting lost often or in familiar places  
  • Difficulty finding the way home  
  • Not knowing what season or month it is
  • Showing up to appointments on the wrong day

Memory Loss Impacting Everyday Tasks

As people get older, they may start having problems with their memory. For  example, they may forget things like why they walked into a room, where they  put the car keys, or someone’s name. However, in normal aging, people can then  remember these things later on. Memory loss that impacts everyday functioning  can be a cause for concern. Examples of this include: 

  • Relying more on notes, alarms, or other people to remember important  information 
  • Forgetting to pay monthly bills  
  • Asking the same questions over and over again
  • Losing things often and not being able to find them

Impaired Safety Or Judgment 

Dementia can affect someone’s judgment, often putting their safety at risk. Some  examples are:  

  • Letting a stranger in the house  
  • Falling for scams  
  • Going out in the winter with summer clothes on
  • Leaving the stove on after cooking

Changes In Mood Or Behavior

Everyone experiences different moods and feelings. However, if the person has  more frequent or intense mood swings, it may be a warning sign that something  is wrong. You might notice the person becoming more: 

  • Confused 
  • Paranoid  
  • Depressed 
  • Anxious 
  • Scared
  • Withdrawn

Think You Missed Some Warning Signs? You’re Not Alone

It is common for caregivers to look back and think, “Oh wow… I missed the signs”.  The truth is, these signs can be hard to spot, especially if you are close to the  person. Try not to be hard on yourself if you didn’t catch all the signs.

Man reading newspaper

Additional Resources

  • Caregiver with hand on elderly woman

    Introduction To Dementia

  • Woman driving elderly man

    Living Alone With Dementia

  • Safety Systems

    Predict The Risk: 50 Safety Checks To Do Today

  • Man and woman talking over coffee

    Warning Signs Of Dementia