10 Early Warning Signs of Dementia You Shouldn’t Ignore

man with his head in his hands

by Patrick J. Kiger, AARP

How to spot early indicators that your loved one may have Alzheimer’s or dementia​

It’s not unusual to have occasional trouble finding the right word or remembering where you put things. But persistent difficulty with memory, cognition and ability to perform everyday tasks might be signs of something more serious.

What is dementia?

Dementia is a catch-all term for changes in the brain that cause a loss of functioning that interferes with daily life. It can diminish focus, attention, language skills, problem-solving and visual perception. Dementia can also make it difficult for a person to control his or her emotions and can even lead to personality changes.

If someone is showing signs of dementia, it’s important to see a medical expert who can conduct tests and come up with a diagnosis. Several, often treatable, conditions — from common infections to a vitamin deficiency — can cause dementia-like symptoms, so it’s necessary to rule them out first.

If it is dementia, you’ll want to plan how you will manage care or pursue treatment, especially as the condition progresses.

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