Subtle Signs of Early Symptoms of Dementia

Vicky Pitner   -  

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines dementia as a “general term for the impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions that interfere with doing everyday activities.” Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia.

One of the myths about memory loss is that it is a part of normal aging. This is not true and often people experiencing early signs of dementia miss out on early interventions that can begin with a proper diagnosis. Often, the family member is aware of the memory issues and will compensate with humor or “catchphrases” and the diagnosis is missed or delayed.

Below are some early signs that could warrant a dementia screening:

  • Difficulty with short-term memory. Your family member cannot recall what he/she ate for breakfast for example.
  • Difficulty with attention and focus.
  • Challenges with communication.
  • Changes in reasoning, judgment, and problem-solving.
  • Changes in visual perception beyond age-related changes in vision.
  • Getting lost in a familiar neighbor, either walking or driving.
  • Difficulty finding words or using unusual words to refer to something.
  • Requiring more assistance with daily activities.
  • Not dressing in clean clothes because a stain is overlooked.
  • Forgetting the name of a close friend or family member.
  • Uses “catchphrases” for most questions such as “Everything is great” or “I am just fine.”
  • Changes in mood such as depression.
  • Lack of motivation or losing interest in activities or hobbies.
  • Confusion or a change in social skills when interacting with people.
  • Difficulty in following a conversation or television program.
  • Being repetitive with stories or asking the same question over and over.
  • Difficulty with operating the microwave or television remote.

If you begin to notice subtle changes in a friend or loved one, a visit to the doctor would be a good option for a proper assessment.

If you, a friend, or family member living with memory loss would be interested in learning more about Memory Ministry, Memory Café, or our Virtual Caregivers Support Group, please contact Vicky Pitner at