The 10 Most Common Early Symptoms Of Dementia

Dementia In Elders

In this article, we’ll discuss some common and early symptoms of dementia in elders.


Do you see the elderly in your family misplacing things quite often or forgetting them? These actions may seem inevitable in old age. But they may be signifying serious cognitive dysfunction.

Dementia is one such group of disorders characterized by impairment of at least two brain activities, generally being memory and judgment. It involves a cluster of cognitive and social symptoms that get in the way of everyday functioning.

People must be aware of the categories of dementia. This makes it easier to identify a specific type of dementia among old people.

Types of Dementia

  • Alzheimer’s disease: One commonly occurring age-related disorder is a form of dementia.
  • Vascular dementia: This form of dementia is the effect of restricted blood circulation in the body. This issue with blood circulation may be a consequence of cholesterol buildup in the blood vessels. This disorder can also be a result of a stroke.
  • Lewy body dementia: In this form of dementia, the nervous system in the body gets impaired. Proteins accumulate in the nerve cells. This inhibits adequate signal transmission. It may lead to memory loss, tardy reflexes, lost neural impulses, etc.
  • Parkinson’s disease: Dementia is a consequence of advanced Parkinson’s disease. Persons suffering from this disorder face issues with reasoning and judgment. They also experience an increase in irritability, paranoia, and depressive characteristics.
  • Fronto-temporal dementia: This is a cluster of disorders under the category of dementia. They occur due to damage in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. In these disorders, the person suffers from speech impairment and loss of impulse control.

There are various other forms of dementia, but they are too rare to be accounted for.

Early Symptoms Of Dementia

If you have an elderly family member or are aging yourself, look for these behaviors which indicate the probability of dementia:

1. Loss of memory

Persons in the premature phase of dementia may not accurately remember events of their past and present. This is noticeable especially when they try to recall recently acquired information. Such people may require external help from their friends and family to recall dates and events.

Temporally forgetting things is not an indicator of dementia. It is considered a symptom only when the information can not be recalled under any circumstance at a later point in time.

2. Difficulty in planning and problem solving

Following instructions may become hard for an individual showing initial characteristics of dementia. For instance, they may muddle cook-book instructions or directions while driving. Simple arithmetic like addition and subtraction may become an ordeal for such people.

This experience may induce a lot of fear in such people. They begin to resort to routine and stay away from challenging situations.

3. Problems with doing habitual tasks

People suffering from premature characteristics of dementia may begin to forget how to do the most mundane aspects of their daily schedule. They may fail to recall how to make their favorite cup of coffee, the directions to their workplace, etc.

Repetition is also a common early indicator of dementia. Such people may repeat daily habits like brushing, shaving, etc. multiple times a day.

4. Confusion about time or place

One of the common early symptoms of dementia is forgetting dates. An individual may forget the time or suddenly lose all knowledge about how they arrived at a particular place. They may also feel lost about their physical location at a particular moment in time. Their past and present may get mixed up as they try to make sense of their surroundings.

Such people may also fail to differentiate between night and day.

5. Issues with processing visual stimuli

People exhibiting premature signs of dementia may fail to differentiate between colors. They may face issues in reading, accurately perceiving distances, etc. People who regularly drive or cycle may find these activities difficult.

Vision may get blurry because of which such individuals may fail to recognize people and objects. They may also become uncomfortable moving from a bright surrounding to a dark one.

6. Problems with speech and writing

Talking to people or maintaining a conversation may start to become complicated for individuals on the verge of suffering from dementia. They may lose their train of thought while talking or may not retain what the other person is saying during a conversation.

With advancing symptoms, writing in terms of grammar, sentence structuring, etc. will worsen for such people. Their handwriting may also become illegible.

7. Misplacing things

This is a very common early symptom of dementia.

People showing initial warnings of dementia tend to forget where they have kept daily use items such as their wallet, car keys, etc. This can be extremely annoying for some individuals. They may blame others for taking their lost items, especially in the workplace.

They may also end up putting things in unusual spaces such as their watch in the fridge, car keys in the oven, etc.

8. Reduced decision-making skills and quality of judgment

People showing early indications of dementia may get impulsive with their decisions. Rationality tends to be lacking in such individuals. It also becomes difficult for them to comprehend reasonable solutions to problems.

Lack of personal hygiene is an ordinary occurrence in such people. They pay less thought to such activities and may not engage in them altogether. You may see them dressed in warm clothes on a hot day, etc.

9. Social withdrawal

People in the initial phases of dementia may lose interest in socializing with friends and family. They may withdraw themselves, not pay attention to others, or not talk at all. They may also begin to demonstrate disinterest in their hobbies and activities that need group involvement, such as sports and general games.

You may see such people become passive, spend long hours in front of the TV, sleep longer than usual, etc.

10. Mood and personality shifts

Mood and personality shifts are notable indicators of the initial phase of dementia. Frequent behavioral changes include an increase in irritability, depressive symptoms, anxiety, fear, etc.

Inappropriate reactions and low inhibitions are also early indicators of this disorder. An individual may become overly emotional or show no emotions on occasions where initially emotions were present.

Early Symptoms Of Dementia: Conclusion

Losing track of things, misplacing them, and forgetting information do not automatically mean an older person is diagnosed with dementia. These problems could also be a consequence of fatigue, stress, etc. Such behaviors are by-products of aging as well. An appointment with the doctor and he can prescribe the best medicine for dementia treatment. 

Dementia is not an unavoidable consequence of old age. It can be prevented by keeping one’s mind and body active and by taking adequate care of yourself and your loved ones.