Watch out for these obvious signs of dementia
About 50 million people live with dementia worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
What makes this epidemic even scarier is that despite plenty of theories about dementia, no one really knows what causes it. Alzheimer’s is the most common type – according to the Alzheimer’s Association, it accounts for up to 80 percent of cases – including my mother’s.
In a twist that’s hard to fathom, my mother’s Alzheimer’s disease was not diagnosed until she had reached the final stages. Part of this was due to her age; she’s only 68.
A mere five per cent of Alzheimer’s patients experience early onset, which is defined as dementia that strikes before age 65.
I never suspected my mother was one of them, and that the disease had taken root years before our family noticed it.
After speaking with doctors and reading up on dementia, I now realise there were some early signs that my mother’s mind was in trouble.
But most of the symptoms were things we chalked up to age or and dismissed as goofy parts of her personality. Little annoyances we brushed off.
Looking back, these seem to have been my mother’s earliest and most deceptive Alzheimer’s symptoms.
1. Constantly misplacing her keys and phone
It was a running joke in our family, but in the context of dementia, this kind of chronic absent-mindedness was probably more than a bad habit.
Misplacing things is one of the earliest signs of dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Of course, everyone loses their phone, keys, or wallet from time to time, but when the frequency is almost daily, it could be a sign of a bigger problem.
2. Asking for the same information repeatedly
If I were coming to visit my mother in a week, I’d have to field the same questions daily leading up to my trip.
One of them would inevitably be, “Which train are you taking?”
This unrelenting line of questioning was frustrating, of course, but it should have been alarming.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, chronic forgetfulness and asking for the same information over and over is a warning sign.
Forgetting conversations is another, according to Helpguide.org.
Requiring the same information a few times can be attributed to normal aging, but when the information won’t stick on a daily basis, it could be more serious.
However, if you are worried about forgetting things, you may be merely a victim of a phenomenon known as ‘digital amnesia’ – a phrase coined to describe forgetting information that you trust a digital device to store and remember for you.