Noticing the Subtle Signs: Our Guide to Recognizing Early Indications of Dementia

It’s a diagnosis many dread and fear, but the truth is that when dementia touches you or a loved one, knowing as early as possible gives you the power to plan. At Elder Advisors Law, we urge our clients and their families to be on the lookout for signs of dementia, while also understanding dementia’s complexities and the reality that a little forgetfulness here and there isn’t necessarily cause for alarm. We hope that today’s blog post can give you a little insight into the subtleties of dementia and provide you with the clarity you need to confidently recognize the signs.

The first important thing to acknowledge is that dementia doesn’t just impact the memory. It also interferes with how you process language and communicate, your ability to focus, and your reasoning skills. 

This is why often one of the first signs of dementia that many people notice is inability to find the word or words to express an idea. You might notice a person in the early stages of dementia forgetting important words and making up new words to replace the forgotten words in written and oral communication. They might also use an existing word that is not exactly what they mean. 

Another early sign of dementia may be difficulty understanding storylines. Someone with dementia may become more easily confused by the plots of movies, television shows, and books. They may ask you why a character is doing something on the screen when you thought the motivation was obvious. 

Mood changes can also be an early indicator of dementia. At the onset of this ailment, it is not unusual to feel depressed or apathetic. You may also notice that your loved one grows irritated or frustrated more quickly and easily. 

Dementia may also cause you or your loved one to struggle with tasks they once completed easily. For example, they might get lost when driving somewhere they’ve been a hundred times before. They might have a difficult time participating in a board game with complex rules, even if they used to be quite good at it. Typically, learning to do new things, create new routines, or follow unfamiliar processes will also become very difficult.

If you suspect that you or a loved one may have dementia, there are two steps you need to take. First, it is essential to consult a doctor. Blood tests, memory games, neurological exams, and brain scans can help a doctor determine whether or not dementia is the cause of the symptoms. Doctors may sometimes help slow the progression of dementia through therapy and medications. If something else is causing your cognitive issues, they can find it and treat it.

Next, you need to talk to an estate planning attorney to ensure that you have a plan in place for your future, both for your finances and healthcare. Dementia can be a very expensive illness and proper planning is absolutely essential for protecting your hard-earned legacy. Contact the Elder Advisors Law team today to learn more. Our attorneys Doug and John are Certified Dementia Practitioners.

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As Leaders in Estate Planning and Elder Law, we are passionate about helping families protect their hard-earned assets from the government, nursing homes, lawsuits or other predators.