warning signs of dementia
This year’s World Alzheimer’s Month campaign will shine a light on the warning signs of dementia, encouraging people to seek out information, advice and support, as well as contacting the Alzheimer’s or dementia association in their country.
This month offers a unique opportunity to raise this much-needed awareness and challenge the stigma and misinformation that still surrounds dementia.
Dementia is a term used to describe a group of conditions that cause damage to brain cells.
This damage means a person’s ability to remember, think, speak and to do everyday things will change and as dementia progresses, the changes become greater, and the person will need more help and support. There are many conditions that cause dementia. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause that people will be most familiar with. Vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia and Fronto-temporal dementia are other causes. Sometimes a person may experience a mix of two dementias and this is called mixed dementia and some people may be diagnosed with dementia and it may not be possible to confirm if it is Alzheimer’s or another cause of dementia.
More information about dementia from The Alzheimer Society website here
Signs and Symptoms
Often the early signs of dementia may be difficult to detect. Some people experience changes in their short-term memory early on, for others changes to mood or to language may be the early signs. It’s important to say that every person’s experience with dementia is different and every person’s journey with dementia is unique.
In general, early signs and symptoms can include:
Memory loss, particularly for recent events
Problems with language, difficulty finding the right word
Changes in mood and behaviour
Becoming confused in familiar surroundings or situations
Difficulty in following conversations, TV programmes or reading
Difficulty managing money and everyday tasks
Difficulty solving problems or doing puzzles
Loss of interest in hobbies and pastimes, lack of initiative to start something or go somewhere.
Repeating a question or story several times without realising
If someone feels they are experiencing some symptoms of dementia, they should either ring the Alzheimer National Helpline 1800 341 341 or speak to their GP as soon as possible.
Signs & symptoms factsheet from The Alzheimer Society of Ireland is available here
There is no cure for dementia, but there is growing scientific evidence indicates that by keeping your brain, your body and your heart healthy you can reduce your risk of developing it and other types of dementia.
Lowering our risk does not mean we can definitely avoid dementia and dementia cannot yet be prevented our cured. However, evidence does suggest that by making small changes to the way we live, we can reduce our chances of developing dementia or at the very least, improve our health and well-being. Doing at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity 3- 5 days a week can all help us to improve our health and wellbeing.
These activities can include the following:
Walking, cycling, swimming, dancing or an exercise class
Gardening, washing the car, cleaning the windows
Take the stairs instead of the lift or go for a walk at lunch
Build it up over time and if you have any doubts talk to your doctor
More information about Brain Health available from on the Alzheimer Society’s website here.
The Alzheimer Society of Ireland National Helpline is open Monday to Friday 10am–5pm and Saturday 10am–4pm at 1800 341 341. The public can also email email@example.com, or use Live Chat at www.alzheimer.ie