By Simon Atkins

Part of Dementia For Dummies Cheat Sheet (UK Edition)

Dementia can reveal itself through multiple symptoms and is sometimes difficult to diagnose. Following are the top five symptoms that point toward a diagnosis of dementia:

  • Memory problems: This is probably the most well-known but least understood of all of the symptoms of dementia, mainly because although everyone becomes forgetful, this doesn’t mean everyone has dementia. The crucial issue here is whether failing memory affects the way someone is able to carry out tasks every day. If it does, then it is certainly significant.

  • Difficulty solving problems and planning: In the early stages of dementia, people lose the ability to perform tasks that may need planning or involve having to work out what to do next. So, for example, they’re not able to pack effectively for a holiday or trip and may become confused at the petrol pump when filling the car with fuel.

  • Trouble finding the right word when talking or writing: Again, this happens to everyonefrom time to time. You are mid-sentence, and the next word you’re looking for completely eludes you. In early dementia, this word-finding difficulty becomes more and more frequent, and people often forget names of people and objects they’re trying to describe.

  • Getting lost and losing things: People with dementia increasingly forget where they left something, from their car keys to the car itself, and aren’t able to retrace their steps to work out where they’ve left the thing. Familiar journeys also become a mystery, and so people themselves often become lost, too.

  • Different emotions: Another early change occurs in a person’s mood, emotions, and personality. Mountains may become molehills more often than ever before, people may become either withdrawn or more aggressive and inpatient with things, and sexual disinhibition is also more common.