Coping with Signs and Symptoms of Dementia

Early signs of dementia include:

  • Memory problems
  • Inability to learn new things
  • Mood swings
  • Poor judgement and decisions
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Trouble with familiar tasks
  • Disorientation to time and place

In later stages, symptoms expand to include:

  • Loss of interest in things he/she enjoyed
  • Forgetting names of family members
  • Loss of awareness of surroundings
  • Incontinence

Witnessing these new behaviors and troubles in your loved one can be upsetting and confusing. Although these symptoms are minimally aided by medication, drugs can help slow the progression of some aspects of the disease. There are also a number of things you, the caregiver, can do to interpret and respond to symptoms to minimize disruption to daily life and maximize quality of life.

First, talk to your doctor. Medical reasons may be behind your loved one’s behavior, and it is important to rule those out (and treat them!) before attempting to cope with them yourself. Then, read on to find out how to interpret and cope with some of these common symptoms of dementia.