Alzheimer's & Dementia
Memory loss in dementia can be serious enough for the person to forget where they are, even on their home street.
The symptoms of dementia experienced by patients, or noticed by people close to them, are exactly the same signs that healthcare professionals look for. A person with dementia may show any of the following problems, mostly due to memory loss - some of which they may notice (or become frustrated with) themselves, while others may only be picked up by family or healthcare workers as a cause for concern. The signs used to compile this list are published by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) in the journal American Family Physician:
- Recent memory loss - a sign of this might be asking the same question repeatedly, forgetting about already asking it.
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks - for example, making a drink or cooking a meal, but forgetting and leaving it.
- Problems communicating - difficulty with language by forgetting simple words or using the wrong ones.
- Disorientation - with time and place, getting lost on a previously familiar street close to home, for example, and forgetting how they got there or would get home again.
- Poor judgment - the AAFP says: "Even a well person might get distracted and forget to watch a child for a little while. People with dementia, however, might forget all about the child and just leave the house for the day."
- Problems with abstract thinking - for example, dealing with money.
- Misplacing things - including putting them in the wrong places and forgetting about doing this.
- Mood changes - unlike those we all have, swinging quickly through a set of moods.
- Personality changes - becoming irritable, suspicious or fearful, for example.
- Loss of initiative - showing less interest in starting something or going somewhere.