What are the signs of Dementia?

Date: October 2018

Author: Dr. Judy Tang

While there are many different types of dementia with varying symptoms, some common symptoms that you can look for include:

  • Memory loss that has a significant impact on performing usual daily tasks
  • Confusion with regard to time and place
  • Language issues
  • Problems performing familiar or basic tasks
  • Altered behaviour or personality
  • Impaired judgement
  • Frequently misplacing things
  • Issues with abstract thinking
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities


How is dementia diagnosed?

The first step is to talk to your doctor about your concerns. When you go to the doctor, it is a good idea to take a friend or close family member to help provide information. When you start noticing symptoms, it can be helpful to list down any memory issues or thinking challenges you may be experiencing, with dates and frequency of these episodes. This list can then be taken to the doctor and can be very helpful. The more information you can provide about your condition, the better. With the information provided, the doctor may assess you, and/or may refer you to a specialist such as a neurologist, geriatrician, or a psychiatrist.

Assessment for dementia often includes the following:

  • Information on personal history and experiences
  • Physical examination
  • Laboratory tests (to determine if there are any unknown infections or disorders)
  • Cognitive testing (used to evaluate cognitive functions, such as memory, visual-spatial awareness, concentration, language, problem solving, and counting). Tests may include:
  • Mini-Mental
  • Status Examination (MMSE)
  • Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale Cognitive (ADASCog)
  • Testing by a Clinical Neuropsychologist
  • Radiological tests (X Rays)
  • Brain Imaging techniques


The effects of Dementia on daily living:

Depending on the severity or stage of dementia that you may have, this can influence your everyday living in a variety of ways. Not every person experiences the same symptoms, or all of the symptoms at the same time, however if for example you are experiencing memory issues, this may mean that you need to enlist the help of another person. This person can be your partner, friend or family member who will be able to remind you of important appointments, or tasks that you had intended on doing. 

Some people can spend years going about their usual daily routines without requiring any extra assistance, while others may require some help earlier in the stages, depending on what type of dementia they have and the area of the brain affected.

As the stages of dementia progress, this can have a greater impact. For some people this may mean that they require constant care to make sure that the right daily procedures are being met. This can include for example, appointments, hygiene, and medication rituals. The progression of dementia is different for each person. Some people experience changes over a long amount of time, while others can experience a rapid decline in their cognitive and physical abilities.

If you would like to be tested for Dementia, contact our caring team today.