The Symptoms of Dementia

Understanding Dementia Symptoms

Understanding the symptoms of dementia can make dealing with this disease a little easier.

The early dementia symptoms typically involve memory loss, especially sort term memory loss (STML). Some of the other symptoms depend upon the area of the brain affected and, to some degree, the type of dementia.

Coping with loss of short term memory can be frustrating, but the article can help you find some quick and inexpensive techniques to make life a little easier.

Typically the early signs of this disease are only noticeable in retrospect and usually by family and close friends, but not the person themselves.

The disease begins slowly and insidiously. Although memory loss is central to this disease, there are certain types of dementia that present first with other symptoms.

There are some great vitamins for memory that are inexpensive and relatively easy to take that can help improve mental function and protect brain cells.

However, there are other causes of memory loss. Review the article for help in distinguishing what may be a very treatable condition. A full medical workup should rule out all other causes of memory loss.

The mini mental status exam is the tool most frequently used by practitioners to monitor and stage a person suffering from memory loss.

People with Lewy Body Dementia often have intense visual hallucinations and may also fall frequently. Hallucinations can be caused by other factors, including drug reactions and electrolyte imbalances.


Urinary Tract Infection in the elderly can also lead to hallucinations and falls. It is important to get a full medical workup done as soon as possible if your loved one begins to experience hallucinations.

Frontotemporal dementia often presents with personality changes and unusual behaviors. People suffering from this type of dementia may say or act inappropriately in a social setting, including sexually inappropriate behavior.

If you notice personality changes, again, get a full workup done. It could be dementia, but it could also be an infection or other, treatable condition.

Remember too that Alzheimer's is a type of Dementia. The 10 warning signs developed by the Alzheimer's Association will be common among all the different types of this debilitating disease process.

Other symptoms typically associated with dementia include:

Other Symptoms of Dementia

  • Difficulty remembering familiar places and people
  • Behavior changes
  • Short term memory loss
  • Changes in mood. Depression is common but you may also see aggression or agitation
  • Declining concern for personal care, such as bathing or shaving
  • Errors or difficulty in judgment, like knowing what to do in an emergency situation
  • Primary progressive aphasia: Having difficulty finding the right word for an object or person
  • Difficulty expressing thoughts or feelings
  • Having problems with planning or following directions

If you notice these symptoms of dementia in someone you love, please make sure to get them in to a physician as soon as possible. The more information you can bring with you ... the better.

For behavior changes, the doctor will need to know your perspective about previous behaviors and what changes you are seeing. If you are not comfortable talking about these changes with your loved one in the room, try taking a letter to the office prior to the appointment.

Challenging Behaviors Typical in Dementia

There are some specific and challenging behaviors you may have to deal with if you receive a diagnosis of dementia. Some of those include:

  • Sundowning
  • Aggression
  • Wandering
  • Refusal of self care
  • Falls
  • Bladder Incontinence
  • Bowel Incontinence
  • Changes in sleep patterns

The use of atypical antipsychotic medications may help in managing some of the more challenging behaviors associated with dementia.

I highly recommend a book by Huub Buijssen, titled "The Simplicity of Dementia". This book, written by a psychologist and gerontologist, explains not only the different behaviors and symptoms of dementia, but also explains what it feels like to the dementia patient themselves.

He offers great advice on effective ways of dealing with deviant behaviors and mood swings. You just may find the perfect solution to your most difficult challenges. He has also written several other books on dementia.

The book will also help you prepare for behaviors and complications that may occur as the disease progresses. The more you can become familiar with the symptoms of dementia, the more you will be able to effectively plan and prepare for changes that may occur in the future.

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