‘Loss’ of self-confidence is a ‘less known’ warning sign of dementia that can be found in a loved one

Dementia is the name of a group of syndromes associated with the deterioration of the brain. The most well-known signs often associated with aging are memory problems. However, there are a number of other behavioral changes worth looking out for.

Emma Huatt, Head of Dementia at KYN Bickley Nursing Home, spoke to to explain more.

She said the “loss of confidence” was one of the signs someone might have dementia.

“Changes in behavior such as loss of confidence, withdrawal, and loss of interest in friends, work or hobbies are lesser known symptoms,” she said.

“People living with dementia may also have sleep disturbances, vivid dreams, and trouble recognizing and understanding money.”

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Early symptoms of dementia

Ms Huat shared some of the earliest signs of dementia to look out for.

She said: “Becoming more forgetful, easily distracted and remembering things a little longer are all signs of normal aging.

“However, when a person has dementia, the changes in mental ability are more severe than those that occur with normal aging.

“Typically, early signs of dementia include increased memory loss (although this is not common with all dementias), confusion, trouble finding the right word, and loss of familiar places.

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“As dementia progresses, people may have difficulty retaining information and learning new tasks, they find it difficult to manage recurring payments such as budgets and bills, lose track of dates and times of the year, and have difficulty making decisions.”

To support someone with dementia, she says, you should try to make sure they don’t feel anxious.

Ms Huat said: “In order to best support a person living with dementia, the space must be familiar and social isolation must be reduced, as this can increase feelings of anxiety.

“Giving your family member access to fresh air, sunlight, and natural light to maintain their body clock and vitamin D levels improves sleep.”

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When to ask for help

She added: “Memory problems can also be caused by other causes such as stress, menopause, medication, anxiety and depression.

“So it’s always a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider if you have concerns about your memory or that of a family member so that other treatable causes can be identified.”

Your healthcare provider will do a memory test to see if they think you have dementia.

They may also do some physical tests to rule out dementia as the cause.

While there is no cure for dementia, there are options to treat the symptoms.

These may include drugs such as donepezil, rivastigmine, and galantamine.

There are also behavioral therapies.

The NHS lists common early symptoms of dementia as:

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty performing normal daily tasks, such as getting confused about the correct change when shopping.
  • Trying to follow a conversation or find the right word
  • Confused in time and place
  • Mood changes.

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