Recognising Symptoms

These are some of the more common early symptoms you may experience.

However it is important to remember that there are a number of other things that can cause these symptoms like depression, vitamin deficiencies, UTIs, infections. Don’t automatically assume you have dementia, the first port of call should be your GP to have a full MOT.

  • Memory. Regularly forgetting recent events, names, and faces.
  • Repetition. Becoming increasingly repetitive, e.g. repeating the same question over and over or repeating behaviours and routines.
  • Misplacing things. Regularly misplacing items or putting them in odd places.
  • Confusion. Not sure of the date or time of day.
  • Disorientation. People may be unsure of their whereabouts or get lost, particularly in unfamiliar places.
  • Language and speaking. Problems finding the right words.
  • Mood and behaviour. Some people become low in mood, anxious or irritable. Others may lose self-confidence, show less interest in what’s happening around them or just start to do a lot less.

What to do if you are worried

If you are worried about a loved one, or have noticed some changes in yourself which are causing you concern, here are a few steps you can take:

First Step – First of all, don’t panic and assume the worst possible scenario. Though, you are only human if you do fear the worst. These symptoms can also be displayed for many other treatable conditions, such as a water or urinary tract infection, vitamin deficiency, depression, stress, anxiety or something as simple as dehydration. Check your fluid intake. Very few of us drink the required amount of water to stay healthy. Also, remember coffee and tea can act as a diuretic and make you dehydrate quicker.

Visit your GP – Your next port of call should be a visit to your GP or practice nurse for a general check-up. If it is a loved one you are worried about, remember they are probably aware that things have not been right and deep down are as worried as you are, so they may be reluctant to visit the surgery. It’s important that you make it clear that it is to check for the simple things that could be causing the problems. Sometimes, a course of antibiotics, medication or help from a counsellor will solve the issues. Your GP may perform a simple memory test and, depending on this result, may refer you to your local memory clinic. Some GPs will decide to take no further action at this stage and simply ask you to come back in six months or so to see if things have progressed. Or you may be referred to your local memory clinic or the hospital for a scan. Don’t be afraid to go back to see your doctor or the practice nurse if you feel you need more support, or your symptoms are getting worse.

Support – It is important that you look for support as soon as possible. Waiting for the results of an assessment or for an appointment at the clinic can be a worrying time causing added stress and anxiety can make your symptoms worse, which in turn will make you fear the worst. This is the time you could be looking for the support of groups like Butterflies. You should try to keep up your hobbies, go to an art class, an exercise class, keep up your sports, carry on having fun and keep life as normal as possible as long as you are safe to do so. If you withdraw, you are risking developing depression.