The early signs of dementia can be subtle and may not be obvious at first. These early signs can vary among different individuals, but there are many common early symptoms. Here’s a list of some of the common early signs of dementia that can help indicate if your loved one is experiencing age-related cognitive difficulties. If you notice several of these warning signs, it’s time to consult a doctor for a complete assessment.

1. Memory Changes That Affect Daily Life

One of the most common early signs of dementia is memory loss. While it’s normal for aging adults to occasionally forget appointments or names, they tend to remember what they forgot later. An individual with dementia may forget things more often without remembering afterwards. They may also have trouble recalling information that they have learned recently. Misplacing items often is another way these memory changes can affect daily life.

2. Difficulty with Tasks

senior mother and daughter preparing a meal togetherAnother one of the early signs of dementia is difficulty doing familiar tasks. Is your loved one forgetting how to do routine tasks like getting dressed or preparing a meal? Dementia can cause aging adults to have trouble doing tasks that they have been doing all their lives. Take note if you notice that your loved one is having trouble with tasks like driving to familiar locations, remembering how to play their favorite games, or organizing a grocery list.

3. Trouble Solving Problems or Planning

If your loved one is experiencing memory changes due to dementia, you may notice a change in their ability to solve problems or create and follow a plan. Planning and executing a meal with a familiar recipe, keeping up with monthly bills, and solving puzzles can all be more difficult or take much longer to complete than before.

4. Disorientation

senior man pointing at calendar and touching his headOne of the common early signs of dementia is confusion with time or place. Individuals with dementia may lose track of dates, seasons, or passing time. If something is not happening immediately, they may have trouble understanding it. It’s not uncommon for dementia to cause people to forget where they are or how they got there, leading to a state of disorientation.

5. Changes in Communication and Language

Have you noticed your loved one forgetting words or substituting the wrong words into conversations? Changes in language and communication that make it difficult to understand them can be one of the early signs of dementia. A person with dementia may also have trouble understanding you when you speak to them.

6. Poor Judgment

elderly woman counting coins in her walletOne of the dangerous early signs of dementia is impaired judgment. Dementia can cause an aging adult to not recognize if something is putting their health and safety at risk. They may not recognize a medical problem that needs attention, or they may wear clothing that’s inappropriate for the current weather. Decreased judgment can also manifest in making poor financial decisions or neglecting hygiene.

7. Changes in Mood or Personality

Severe mood and personality changes can be early signs of dementia. These changes may include quickly becoming sad or angry for no obvious reason. A person living with dementia may withdraw from others and feel fearful or suspicious of people. Feeling and acting differently than what is normal for them can be an indication of dementia.

Preventing Age-Related Cognitive Difficulties

Lifestyle, diet, exercise, and nutritional medicine can help patients experiencing cognitive decline. However, these approaches are much more effective at preventing dementia and other age-related cognitive issues. If you think you or your loved one may be at risk of developing dementia in the future, it’s important to start taking the right health steps early on.

If you are interested in the prevention of cognitive difficulties like age-related dementia, schedule an appointment at the Institute for Progressive Medicine today. Our caring team of professionals looks forward to helping you achieve your best physical and mental health for years to come!