The Alzheimer Society of Merseyside has listed ten warning signs of dementia as tens of thousands of people live with undiagnosed dementia in the UK.
Lali Kelly, dementia adviser for the Alzheimer’s Society in the St Helen area, said: ‘Every three minutes in the UK someone develops dementia, but at the moment diagnosis rates are at their lowest since five years due to the pandemic.
“We know that some people may be discouraged from seeking a diagnosis for a number of reasons, such as memory loss is a normal part of aging, they don’t recognize the signs or they are just too scared.
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“My role as a dementia counselor is to help people through the diagnostic process by providing advice on what to expect and what support the Alzheimer Society can offer throughout. We are here to help people understand and come to terms with their diagnosis. We offer confidential listening, personalized information and emotional support so that people with dementia can continue to live fulfilling lives.
The Alzheimer Society is now urging anyone concerned that they or a loved one is showing signs of dementia to contact the charity for help. The charity says asking the same question again is not ‘aging is getting sick’.
Here are ten other signs that could be caused by dementia.
forgetting things more often
For someone with dementia, problems with memory and thinking worsen faster than they normally would with age, with a noticeable decline over a period of months rather than years. For a doctor to diagnose a person with dementia, their symptoms must have become more frequent and have a significant impact on daily life.
Losing track of date and time
If you get lost in a familiar place or cannot find your way back, this can also be a red flag and you should mention this to your GP. Some people also experience “time differences” – for example, a person may think they are still living in a previous house – particularly if that is the one where they felt most “at home”.
Struggling to find the right words
It’s common, as we get older, that we sometimes struggle to find the right words, but eventually remember them. With possible signs of dementia, there are frequent problems finding the right word or regularly referring to objects as “that thing.” For someone with dementia, language problems may vary from day to day or be more or less of a problem at different times of the day.
Become withdrawn and less social
Symptoms of dementia can cause a person to withdraw more from work, friends, or family. Dementia makes social interaction with other people much more difficult and tiring, and it can also severely affect a person’s confidence.
Conversations can be harder to follow, especially in noisy environments. So it can be tempting for someone with dementia to want to stay home.
Having trouble performing familiar tasks
For a person with dementia, familiar tasks they have done all their life can start to become difficult to accomplish. They may also lose the ability to perform tasks in the correct order, such as trying to cook pasta before putting water in it.
Put objects in unusual places
We all misplace our things around the house from time to time – and find them before too long. People with dementia do this more, but sometimes they also place things in unusual places, such as putting the house keys in the fridge.
Difficulty understanding what you see
It’s completely normal for your eyesight to not be as sharp as when you were younger. However, if you’re still having trouble reading text, even with glasses on, it might be worth checking out.
Some people with dementia have difficulty judging distances or seeing edges clearly, causing them to trip or fall. Dementia sometimes causes hallucinations or seeing, hearing or smelling things that are not there. This is more common in people with Lewy body dementia, a less common type of dementia.
Difficulty making informed and prudent decisions
Life is full of distractions and can get overwhelming, we’ve all had times when we made the wrong decision. However, if a person finds that they are making a lot of bad decisions – either because they can’t process information the way they used to or because their personality seems to have changed a lot in just a few months – it could be a sign that they need to see their doctor.
Being regularly distracted and losing concentration
During a conversation, you may get distracted or start to lose your mind. While it may make you a little flushed, it’s not necessarily a sign that something is wrong. However, if you constantly forget the names of common objects, forget words, or quickly lose track of what someone is saying, it could be a sign of dementia.
Changes in mood and behavior
No one is supposed to feel positive all the time, but if you or someone you know starts to become easily irritated, lose interest in things, or have extreme ups and downs, it may be a sign of dementia.
Assistance and more information about a diagnosis is available online hereor by calling 0330 333 0804.
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