Early Symptoms of Dementia to Look Out for in the Elderly

elderly woman

Dementia is not a specific disease but an umbrella term covering many different disorders that affect memory, thought, and decision making. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s Disease. If you have an older loved one that seems to be having memory problems lately, you shouldn’t be too soon to assume that they have dementia. 

There are specific symptoms to look out for when diagnosing memory and thought disorders. This blog post will shed some light on how you may be able to tell dementia apart from the everyday forgetfulness that may sometimes accompany the natural aging process. 

Early Symptoms of Dementia to Look Out For in the Elderly

There are specific symptoms that may appear in the early stages of dementia. Spotting them is the key to eventually getting them the treatment they need. 

1 – Subtle Changes in Short-Term Memory

Although it may not be the main and only sign to look out for, changes in memory may be an indicator of dementia. A person with early signs of dementia may vividly remember events that took place years ago but not recall what they had for lunch hours prior. 

2 – Mood Swings

Because dementia often affects a person’s judgment, you may witness an extreme shift in character. Mood swings and depression are also common early warning signs of dementia. 

3 – Apathy

A person who exhibits early signs of dementia seemingly loses interest in things and activities that they used to enjoy. They may seem emotionally flat and refuse to spend time with family and friends. This sign may be particularly evident with people who used to be outgoing and friendly.

4 – Difficulty Finding the Right Words

Having a conversation with a person who has dementia may take longer and be more difficult to conclude. This is because they may find it more challenging to find the right words they need to express their thoughts.

5 – Confusion

People who may have dementia may often forget why they entered a room or the storyline of a TV show they are watching. 

6 – Repetitive Behavior

They may often ask questions repeatedly or repeat themselves when they are trying to tell a story. They may also do the same tasks over and over again. 

7 – Failed or Failing Sense of Direction

These individuals may also have a failing sense of direction. Even if they have been to a particular place before, they may show signs of not remembering the place or that they have already been to it in the past.

When to Seek Help

If your loved one exhibits more than one of the symptoms mentioned above, or if you know that they used to remember things clearly but suddenly have bouts of memory lapses, it is best to seek help from a doctor and have them diagnosed.


Remember that an older loved one who cannot remember where they placed their glasses may not automatically mean dementia. However, family members will have the right to worry if the said older individual does not remember what glasses are used for. The key to getting quality care for your loved ones is to have them diagnosed by a medical professional. These medical specialists will provide an accurate diagnosis and recommend the appropriate care options available for your loved one. 

If you have a loved one that has been diagnosed with dementia, contact Gateway Home Health! We are committed to providing the highest quality home-based patient care in an atmosphere of respect for human dignity. Our highly trained clinicians and therapists strive to exceed the expectations of our patients, families, caregivers, and physicians. Contact us today and get the most reliable home care services for your loved one!

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