Dementia affects every person differently. Each person is a unique individual and that does not change with dementia. Not everyone with dementia will exhibit the same symptoms, with the same rate of progression. Although each individual is unique, the following are examples of some of the common changes and challenges that may occur with dementia, particularly in the early to middle stages:
- Challenges with short-term memory
- Examples: Individuals with dementia may forget what happened earlier in the day, week, or month. They may not remember visiting with someone, taking their medications, or even having breakfast. They may ask the same questions or tell the same stories repeatedly.
- Communication problems
- Examples: Individuals with dementia may describe the function of an item instead of naming it, have complications with finding the right words, struggle to follow a conversation, or use broad words and descriptions in their communication.
- Difficulties with thinking things through and planning
- Examples: Individuals may have problems with carrying out everyday tasks such as handling money, preparing food, or maintaining personal hygiene.
- Confusion about time or place
- Examples: They may get lost in a familiar place or be unaware of the time or date.
- Changes in judgement and reasoning
- Examples: Individuals with dementia may be unaware of the risks and consequences of certain actions. They may spend large amounts of money on things they would not normally spend money on, or not realize the danger of their reduced decision making while driving.
- Vision and perception changes
- Examples: They may have difficulty reading and judging distance. They may also get confused by shiny and patterned objects or reflections.
- Unusual emotional behavior or responses
- Examples: Individuals with dementia may become sad, angry, frightened, or upset. They may also seem to lack self-confidence or display changes in mood.
It is essential to realize that our loved ones, friends, and community members with dementia are not choosing to have these changes occur. They have damage in their brains that are causing the changes and challenges. Be understanding.
If you are impacted by dementia and looking for more education and support, contact the Aging & Disability Resource Center of Southwest Wisconsin to get connected to the Dementia Care Specialist by calling 800-514-0066.