Memory issues tend to be the most noteworthy warning sign of dementia, but it's also common for people to forget things now and again. How can you distinguish what's normal and what isn't?
First, it's important to clarify that dementia is an umbrella term used to describe various brain diseases.
The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer's disease, whereby memory loss is a symptom of the condition.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, this type of disease "causes a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills".
The first key difference between Alzheimer's and typical age-related memory loss is the severity of memory loss.
In older age, it's fairly common to sometimes forget a person's name or appointments you've booked.
However, this information (somebody's name or appointment time) is usually recalled at a later stage.
People suffering from Alzheimer's, on the other hand, forget "recently learned information".
This can also include forgetting important dates and events, and asking the same questions repeatedly.
There will be an increasing need to rely on memory aids, such as sticky notes or electronic reminders.
The charity states that "misplacing things" can be seen as an indication of the brain disease.
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Yet, when someone has a million things on their mind, or are generally absent minded, losing things can be commonplace.
The key to identifying whether somebody could have the brain is disease is whether they're able to retrace their steps.
People who have lost something are able to retrace their steps in order to help identify where they placed the item.
A person with Alzheimer's disease isn't able to perform this simple task, and may resort to blaming others as the disease progresses.
Some people with the brain disease can become accusatory, pinpointing others as thieves when they're unable to find their things.
Another warning sign of Alzheimer's is "new problems with words in speaking or writing".
To elaborate, a person with the disease "may have trouble following or joining a conversation".
This can be heard when they stop speaking in the middle of a conversation and have no clue as to how to continue.
A person with Alzheimer's can struggle with their vocabulary, using the wrong name for objects.
For example, a person with the brain disease may call a watch a hand-clock.
It's completely normal for somebody to have difficulty finding the right word to describe something.
However, if a familiar object – such as a dog – is called something else entirely – like a saucepan – it could be a sign of dementia.