Dementia Care

Symptoms of dementia

Dementia is not a disease itself but rather a collection of symptoms that result from damage to the brain caused by different diseases, such as Alzheimer's. These symptoms vary according to the part of the brain that is damaged.

Common early symptoms of dementia

Different types of dementia can affect people differently and everyone will experience symptoms in their own way. However, there are some common early symptoms that may appear some time before a diagnosis of dementia. These include:

  • Memory Loss
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Finding it hard to carry out familiar daily tasks, such as getting confused over the correct change when shopping
  • Struggling to follow a conversation or find the right word
  • Being confused about time and place
  • Mood changes

These symptoms are often mild and may get worse only very gradually. It's often termed "mild cognitive impairment" (MCI) as the symptoms are not severe enough to be diagnosed as dementia.

You might not notice these symptoms if you have them, and family and friends may not notice or take them seriously for some time. In some people, these symptoms will remain the same and not worsen. But some people with MCI will go on to develop dementia.

Dementia is not a natural part of ageing. This is why it's important to talk to your GP sooner rather than later if you're at all worried about memory problems or other symptoms.

Symptoms in the later stages of dementia

As dementia progresses memory loss and difficulties with communication often become severe. In the later stages the person is likely to neglect their own health and require constant care and attention.

The most common symptoms of advanced dementia include:

  • Memory problems – people may not recognise close family and friends, or remember where they live or where they are.
  • Communication problems– some people may eventually lose the ability to speak altogether. Using non-verbal means of communication, such as facial expressions, touch and gestures, can help.
  • Mobility Problems – many people become less able to move about unaided. Some may eventually become unable to walk and require a wheelchair or be confined to bed.
  • Behavioural problems – a significant number of people will develop what are known as "behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia". These may include increased agitation, depressive symptoms, anxiety, wandering, aggression or sometimes hallucinations.
  • Bladder incontinence - is common in the later stages of dementia and some people will also experience bowel incontinence.
  • Appetite and weight loss problems are both common in advanced dementia. Many people have trouble eating or swallowing and this can lead to choking, chest infections and other problems. 

Living with Dementia can be a huge challenge to those affected as well as their families and friends. Just because symptoms of dementia may get worse over time, this doesn’t mean that quality of life can’t be supported.

Our specialised Dementia services offer support workers who are trained to support people to live better with memory loss and other Dementia symptoms so that their day to day independence and experiences are as Dementia ‘friendly’ as possible.

Our service also fully involves partners and other family members to help them manage the Dementia impacts themselves and to give them a rest from their caring activities.

Whatever your goals are our services will respond flexibly and try to help you do everything you want. So, get in touch today on 0800 002 9324for a friendly chat or a free care assessment.