How to Spot Symptoms of Dementia


Your loved one might need your help to spot symptoms of dementia. Learn how to spot symptoms of dementia and ways that Sagecare can make things easier.

It might be challenging to differentiate between normal forgetfulness and early symptoms of dementia. It is significantly trickier if you do not reside with the senior you suspect may live with dementia. They could be suffering from cognitive decline but unaware of it themselves. In some cases, they might be in denial, restricting them from visiting a doctor for an assessment. However, there are ways that you can spot symptoms of dementia to help your loved one. 

According to research about dementia in Canada, about one in four seniors age 85+ have been diagnosed with dementia. However, this does not imply that dementia is a normal part of ageing. 

Detecting the symptoms in earlier stages and looking into dementia care homes in Toronto can allow you to help a loved one. So, how can you help your loved ones if you notice any dementia symptoms? The first step would be to figure out what the warning signs are. 

Dementia Symptoms at Different Stages

The Global Deterioration Scale (CGS)/Reisberg Scale, used to describe each stage of dementia, detects that there are about seven stages. The symptoms start with minimal to no cognitive decline, low memory loss, and very severe cognitive decline. Each stage lasts a certain amount of time and varies from a few days to years.

What Are the First Symptoms of Dementia?

The early signs of dementia are vague and sometimes not noticeable. The only way to know for sure if a person has dementia is through a diagnosis. A doctor will use different types of assessments before confirming that the individual has dementia. Dementia symptoms become more prevalent in later stages, but here are some early clues that you can keep an eye on.

1. No Dementia – The CGS suggests that stages one through three indicate that the individual has mild cognitive decline. Symptoms include:

  • Forgets names
  • Misplaces objects
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Gets lost
  • Decreased work performance

2. Early-stage Dementia – When the senior faces moderate cognitive decline and their symptoms become more noticeable to their loved ones. Some of the symptoms are:

  • Forgets recent events
  • Unable to manage finances
  • Cannot travel alone
  • Unwillingness to accept symptoms
  • Decreased socialization
  • A doctor can detect cognitive problems

What Are the Symptoms of Dementia in An Advanced Stage?

In the early stages of dementia, some symptoms may be more visible than others. Symptoms of dementia become more evident in the mid to late-stage, and almost everyone around can detect them. At this stage, the senior needs specific dementia care to function normally. Moving into a specialized care home for seniors with dementia that consists of high staffing to resident ratio can benefit the individual’s health.

1. Mid-stage Dementia – There are two stages within the mid-stage of dementia. It starts with moderately severe cognitive decline and turns into severe cognitive decline. Here are some symptoms to detect this middle stage:

  • Significant memory deficiencies 
  • Needs assistance with daily activities, such as bathing
  • Unaware of date and time
  • Forgets past major events
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding speech
  • Delusions
  • Loss of bladder control

2. Late-stage Dementia All symptoms become more severe at this stage, and the conditions worsen. Some dementia symptoms are:

  • Unable to communicate
  • Cannot live alone
  • Loss of motor skills
  • Cannot walk 

How Symptoms Can Differ Based on Dementia Type

There are over 400 types of dementia, with few common ones that affect people more. However, not all types of dementia have the same symptoms. Here are some symptoms that can differ among the most common forms of dementia.

1. Alzheimer’s – This is the most common form of dementia and makes up most dementia cases in seniors. It usually develops gradually over several years. Alzheimer’s disease occurs when abnormal clumps of protein build up and damages nerve cells in the brain. Signs of the disease include:

  • Memory loss
  • Confusion with time or place
  • Difficulty completing regular tasks

2. Vascular – Considered the second most common form, vascular dementia occurs when there is damage to the vessels that supply blood to the brain. Vascular dementia symptoms can include: 

  • Reduced attention span
  • Confusion
  • Trouble coordination or planning

3. Lewy Body – This is one of the more common types of progressive dementia that occurs when there is abnormal protein, called Lewy body deposit in the brain. Some Lewy body symptoms are: 

  • Changes in thinking
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Sleep disruption
  • Memory loss – but less prominent than Alzheimer’s 

4. Frontotemporal – This occurs when nerve cells in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain are lost, resulting in shrinking lobes. Some ways to spot the disease are:

  • Behavioural changes
  • Lower self-awareness
  • Lack of apathy

5. Mixed – If an individual is diagnosed with mixed dementia, it means that they have a combination of two types of dementia. The most common duo is Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. The symptoms for this would be the same as chronic symptoms for both forms of dementia. 

The senior with the diagnosis above would benefit from moving into Sagecare, a home-like dementia care facility where trained nurses are always available to provide care. It can be difficult for a senior with dementia to live alone since they need extra attention. Providing them with the option to receive that care can help them live a more peaceful life.

Steps After Spotting Dementia Symptoms

After observing a loved one and helping them with the diagnosis, you may need to take further steps to guide them through the process. You can look for dementia support to ease your mind since elder care providers are trained to help out seniors that need help. Our memory care home offers engaging, memory-based activities where your loved ones can age comfortably with our big family.

Dementia can be tough on both the person living with it and their loved ones, but there are ways that you can make the procedure simpler. The first step is to detect the dementia symptoms and take necessary action from that point.

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