Getting lost in time and space
Can’t remember what time of day it is? We all lose track of time occasionally if we’re absorbed in a task but if it’s happening often, or you or a family member get lost in familiar surroundings, it could be a sign of dementia.
GP devices for dementia
Forgetting how to use the washing machine
The ability to follow a sequence of tasks is part of what experts call executive function. People with Alzheimer’s often lose this ability because they are unable to prioritise the various steps. So if someone starts to find it hard to do familiar tasks such as working the washing machine, the microwave, or power tools it may be a symptom of dementia.
Practical tips to help loved ones retain as much independence as possible in the early stages of dementia
Not paying bills on time
A reduced ability to plan and think ahead (impaired executive function) is a key dementia symptom. Letting bills mount up (in someone who has previously paid on time), a sudden lottery habit or other impulsive financial decisions could be a clue.
Waking up and not smelling the coffee
Loss of smell can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s (and dementia associated with Parkinson’s disease) according to a recent review in the Journal of the Neurological Sciences. The study recommends that olfactory (smell) tests are used to screen people at high risk of dementia.
Anosmia: when your sense of smell stops working
A sudden love of biscuits
Changes in taste, for example a sudden sweet tooth, could be another sign of dementia. A preference for sweets is a common feature of what’s called frontotemporal dementia.
Learn more about different types of dementia
Taking a nap
Changes in sleep patterns such as sleeping more (hypersomnia), insomnia, broken sleep, daytime napping and night-time waking are all associated with dementia.
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