Have you ever wondered whether experiences like forgetting an appointment, not remembering the way back home, or forgetting to turn off the water after a shower, may be warning signs of dementia or mere instances of general forgetfulness? The following list may help you to see which category you may fall into.
Patterns of Age-Related Forgetfulness (Normal ageing):
- Forgetting occasionally but not frequently.
- Recognising and acknowledging when something is forgotten.
- Concerns about personal forgetfulness.
- Occasionally forgetting dates.
- Misplacing items, but not often.
- Forgetting the names of acquaintances who are not particularly closed.
- Recalling details of past conversations after some time, rather than shortly after.
- Occasional difficulty finding the right words without disrupting conversations.
- Forgetfulness that doesn’t significantly interfere with daily activities.
Warning Signs of Dementia:
- Frequent forgetfulness, repeatedly forgetting what was forgotten.
- Relatives expressing concern about the patient’s forgetfulness, as the patient often remains unaware.
- Confusion occurring at various times of the day—daytime, nighttime, monthly, and yearly.
- Frequent loss of items, coupled with a growing suspicion that others may be stealing them.
- Forgetting the names of close relatives.
- Forgetting recent conversations shortly after having them.
- Often unable to recall certain words, frequently using words incorrectly even though they were used correctly before.
- Forgetfulness disrupting the ability to perform daily life tasks independently.
- Getting lost, even in familiar places.
- A change in personality, potentially manifesting as aggressive behavior or sudden mood swings.
Dementia significantly influences both the patient’s quality of life and that of those around them. If frequent symptoms suggestive of dementia are present, it is advisable to seek professional help for a comprehensive evaluation. This is important not only to identify potentially treatable causes but also to attempt to delay the progression of the condition. Early detection and treatment increase the chances of slowing down cognitive decline, reducing the burden on caregivers.
Nacharin Phiphopthatsanee, MD MRCPsych
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