Alzheimers Research UK explain 'what is dementia?'
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Dementia is a group of symptoms linked to the ongoing deterioration of the brain. For this reason it is more commonly associated with older people, however, it can affect younger people too. Although there is no cure, it is vital that any warning signs are picked up as soon as possible to ensure the affected person can get the help they need.
If asked to describe dementia many of us would immediately think of memory problems.
While these are key signs of the condition, there are other behavioural changes to be aware of.
To help spot if a loved one has dementia, the Alzheimer Society of Canada lists 10 common symptoms to look out for. Among these is impaired judgement.
This could cause a person to make poor choices that could put their safety at risk.
According to the society, this includes wearing “heavy” clothing on a hot day – something that could lead to heat stroke.
It says: “Are you, or the person you know, not recognizing something that can put health and safety at risk?
“From time to time, people may make questionable decisions such as putting off seeing a doctor when they are not feeling well.
“However, a person living with dementia may experience changes in judgement or decision-making, such as not recognizing a medical problem that needs attention or wearing heavy clothing on a hot day.”
If you have concerns about this, the society advises speaking to a doctor.
The Alzheimer Society listed nine other warning signs of dementia to act on.
Memory loss that affects day-to-day abilities – A person living with dementia may forget things more often or may have difficulty recalling information that has recently been learned.
Difficulty performing familiar tasks – A person living with dementia may have trouble completing tasks that have been familiar to them all their lives, such as preparing a meal or playing a game.
Problems with language – A person living with dementia may forget simple words or may substitute words such that what they are saying is difficult to understand.
Disorientation to time and place – People living with dementia can become lost on their own street, not knowing how they got there or how to get home.
Problems with abstract thinking – Someone living with dementia may have significant difficulties with such tasks because of a loss of understanding what numbers are and how they are used.
Misplacing things – Anyone can temporarily misplace a wallet or keys. However, a person living with dementia may put things in inappropriate places.
Changes in mood and behaviour – Someone living with dementia can show varied mood swings – from calmness to tears to anger – for no apparent reason.
Changes in personality – A person living with dementia may experience striking personality changes and can become confused, suspicious or withdrawn.
Loss of initiative – A person living with dementia may become passive and disinterested, and require cues and prompting to become involved.
It adds: “If you are concerned about any of these signs, the next step is to talk to your doctor. Only a qualified healthcare provider, after multiple assessments and tests, can confirm whether you or someone you know has dementia.”
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