Senior Living News & Articles

Contact Our Team

What Are the Early Signs of Dementia?

early signs of dementia

Dementia is an umbrella term for a set of symptoms that affect memory, thinking, and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily functioning. Recognizing the early signs of dementia can be difficult, but knowing what to look for is crucial for caregivers and family members. It ensures that your family member receives a proper diagnosis and has access to the appropriate care and support they need.

At Franklin Park® Senior Living, we understand the unique journey that each individual and their family navigates during the early stages of dementia. Our Refreshing Waters® memory care neighborhoods in San Antonio are designed to provide comfort, dignity, and joy in every interaction.

We want to help you throughout this journey, so our dedicated team is sharing the early signs of dementia you should be on the lookout for.

Memory Loss that Disrupts Daily Life

One of the most common early signs of dementia is memory loss, but keep in mind that this goes beyond age-related forgetfulness. You might notice your loved one repeatedly asking for the same information or relying more on memory aids for things they used to handle on their own.

Memory loss can also manifest in other ways. Someone living with dementia may misplace items in unusual places or find it challenging to retrace their steps. For example, your loved one might misplace their car keys in the refrigerator or have difficulty navigating the living spaces of their own home. 

Challenges in Planning or Solving Problems

Individuals in the early stages of dementia may start to find it increasingly difficult to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They might have trouble keeping track of monthly bills or following a familiar recipe, or they could experience difficulty concentrating on tasks that require sequential steps.

Difficulty Finding the Right Words

It’s not uncommon for individuals with dementia to experience challenges communicating effectively. This can be deeply frustrating for both the person experiencing it and their loved ones. Words may seem just out of reach, and the right terms may be hard to find, making conversations and expressions difficult. This symptom can lead to pauses in conversation as the individual searches for their words. Alternatively, they may substitute with less specific words, such as calling every animal a “dog” or referring to every meal as “dinner.”

Disorientation and Confusion with Time or Place

People living with dementia often experience a disconcerting sense of confusion when it comes to time and place. This is because dementia can affect the brain’s ability to judge the passage of time, understand sequences, and recognize familiar environments. 

When the neurons responsible for memory and orientation are damaged, it becomes more challenging for the individual to recall dates, comprehend the sequence of events, or even recognize familiar settings like their own home. This confusion can be disorienting, causing your family member to feel lost in a once-familiar place or unable to identify the current time or season.

Subtle Changes in Mood and Personality

Dementia can have profound and distressing effects on an individual’s mood and personality. Family members may observe that a once cheerful and social person has become withdrawn or unusually irritable.

It’s crucial to handle these changes with empathy, recognizing that these behaviors and mood alterations are symptoms of dementia and not a reflection of the person’s character or feelings toward their loved ones. 

Other common behavioral changes might include increased anxiety, depression, or even aggression. These behaviors can be an attempt to communicate discomfort, pain, or frustration once a person can no longer articulate these feelings.

Moving Forward Together

As you navigate the early stages of dementia with your loved one, approach each day with patience and love, finding solace in the resources available to support you. From support groups to professional advice and care options, you’re not on this journey alone. There is strength in community, understanding in shared experiences, and comfort in being heard.

At Franklin Park® Senior Living, we stand with you in these early stages of dementia and are here to offer you not only understanding and support but also a commitment to dignified care. Together, we can ensure a nurturing environment for your loved one where they feel safe, valued, and loved.

Contact a member of our team to learn more about our memory care programs in San Antonio and how we can enhance your family member’s quality of life.