On occasion, we all have trouble recalling a detail or feel that a word is “on the tip of our tongue”. Anyone can lose something and forget where they misplaced it. And so, the occasional memory lapse is probably not cause for alarm.
However, more persistent problems might signal the beginning of dementia, a condition that can worsen over time and become dangerous for the person afflicted by it. And so, if you can catch the disease early in its progression, it becomes easier to safeguard your loved one or take other necessary medical and legal steps.
In particular, the following seven signs warrant a talk with your doctors (or your spouse’s doctor) so that a more comprehensive evaluation for dementia can be conducted:
- Difficulty with routine tasks that were easily accomplished in the past – such as balancing a checkbook or preparing a meal
- Telling the same story over and over, or asking the same question repeatedly
- Conversational problems, such as difficulty following a conversation, or stopping abruptly in the middle of relaying a story
- Frequently getting lost on a walk through the neighborhood, while shopping in a familiar mall, or while driving
- Disorientation regarding place or time, such as not remembering how you go somewhere, forgetting the day of the week, or not knowing where you are
- Poor judgment regarding monetary decisions, inability to appropriately groom oneself, or other everyday behaviors that seem less productive or reasonable than in the past
- Personality changes, such as when a normally calm person begins to exhibit anxiety, or temperamental outbursts in someone not previously prone to them
If you observe these behaviors in your spouse or another loved one, try to attend their next doctor visit and share your concerns. And yes, you can also notice them in yourself; early on, the signs of dementia can come and go. Don’t be afraid to mention these observations to your doctor. In some cases, the cause of the behavior is not dementia at all, and can be easily treated.