Dementia is a syndrome associated with progressive deterioration of the brain. It usually affects memory and behavior. While there is no cure, there are treatments to help relieve the symptoms.
Therefore, it is important to detect symptoms in a loved one as early as possible.
Because the risk of dementia increases with age, many people tend to notice memory problems first.
But one expert warned of some “less known” signs of the disease.
Bill McKenna, founder of Cognomovement, said changes in appetite could signal dementia.
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Specifically, he listed “eating more or less than usual” or “loss of interest in food” as symptoms to look out for.
Mr McKenna said: “There are several symptoms of dementia to look out for in an elderly family member.
“Some of the most common and obvious symptoms include:
“Memory loss is difficulty remembering recently learned information or events, forgetting the names of people or familiar places.
“Communication Difficulty – Difficulty finding the right words, difficulty following or joining in a conversation.
“Disorientation is getting lost in familiar places, not knowing what day it is or what time of year it is.
“Changes in mood or behavior—mood swings, anxiety, paranoia, or aggressiveness.
“Difficulty with tasks – Difficulties with planning or completing familiar tasks, such as getting dressed or preparing meals.”
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He added: “There are also some lesser known symptoms of dementia that you should be aware of, such as:
“Changes in sleep patterns – sleeping more or less than usual, sleep disturbances.
“Changes in personal hygiene – neglect of personal hygiene, such as not bathing or brushing your teeth.
“Changes in mobility – difficulty walking or climbing stairs, tremors or clumsiness.”
What to do if you think someone has dementia
“If you suspect an elderly family member is showing symptoms of dementia, it is important to approach the situation with understanding and compassion,” McKenna advised.
“It is also important to seek medical attention as soon as possible, as early diagnosis and treatment can help manage symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.
“Your family member’s primary care physician or a specialist such as a geriatrician or neurologist can evaluate them and recommend a course of treatment.”
If you suspect that you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider.