Symptoms of dementia
This section looks at first signs of dementia and how getting a dementia diagnosis can be a crucial step in obtaining support to cope. It also discusses diagnosis for people with sensory loss, as well as young onset dementia and the challenges that presents.
Early signs and diagnosis
Changes in a person in the early stages of dementia can be mistaken for normal ageing. If memory loss begins to impact on daily life, it could be the early signs of dementia. A failure to recognise these first signs often leads to people not being diagnosed for several years.
The most common early signs include memory problems, decline in communication skills, recognition and coordination difficulties, disorientation, changes in behaviour, judgement and mood, and loss of daily life skills.
Young (or early) onset dementia
People who develop young onset dementia – that is, dementia diagnosed before a person is 65 years old – face many challenges. Obtaining a diagnosis and accessing age-appropriate services are two big issues; however there are many more. Despite, or perhaps because of, these difficulties younger people have been at the forefront of the growing campaign by people with dementia to change society’s attitudes towards dementia.
Diagnosis and sensory loss
Having sight or hearing loss makes things more difficult for the person with dementia who is already working hard to make sense of the world around them. Regular hearing and sight tests, technology aids, environmental improvements, accessible information and communications can all make a big difference for people with dementia and sensory loss.