Spotting Dementia Before It Starts

Spotting Dementia Before It Starts

If you catch dementia early, the easier it is to address and potentially reverse. If you catch it later, there are still things you can do to make it better. But, well… it’s better to catch it earlier.

Early symptoms of dementia are difficult for two main reasons. One, they seem subjective. They seem to happen only in our own minds and so it’s easy for us to brush them aside and move on with our lives. No accountability in the ether.

Second, we tend to just write these things off as “one of those things” that happens when you get older. Consequently, we pay little attention to it or brush it off and move on with our lives.

It’s even tougher considering that it’s totally normal to forget your keys once in awhile or misplace someone’s name or have trouble remembering a word. You have to consider frequency of occurrence on top of everything else.

Pay attention to these warning signs. Don’t write them off. And if one or more of these is persistent, it’s time to consider yourself (or your loved one) as pre-dementia and take the appropriate steps.

Short-term memory loss

The key here is short-term memory. Dementia does not seem to affect the long-term memory nearly as much as things like the answer to a question you heard 40 minutes ago.

Simple mistakes

Everybody is good at something, until dementia that is. When you start forgetting how to do things you’ve committed to muscle memory years ago, that’s a bad sign. Guys who were auto mechanics their entire lives forgetting how to change the oil in your car, or career surgeons who have a hard time with a few stitches is a pretty sure sign. But it doesn’t have to do with their job. Maybe they are having a particularly hard time figuring out which bills to use when paying for an item at the grocery store, or how to work the DVD player they’ve used thousands of times in the past.

Increased… gullibility

Perhaps this isn’t the politest possible way to describe it, but if a person becomes more easily taken advantage of by salespeople or acquaintances looking for babysitters, it might be dementia. Or if they are suddenly buying things from the Home Shopping Network or infomercials when previously this was unheard of, there is a loss of the ability to make good judgement calls.

Mood and Personality Changes

It doesn’t have to be good or bad (though there’s a good chance it’s bad), but just… different. Perhaps your normally sanguine grandmother becomes paranoid and irritable, or has noticeable mood swings throughout the course of a day. Just look for any out of the ordinary behavior. You’ll likely notice it; just be mindful of what it could mean.

Lack of motivation

Early dementia can mean a normally motivated person simply having no interest in doing… anything. Maybe they used to garden, but don’t feel like it anymore. They are dragging more than usual (over an extended period of time) in the morning before work. Everything is a chore. Of course, some people are always like this, and it could be depression or that they’re a “dud.” But when it comes to your loved ones, you would know the difference.

Turning back the clock

Let’s say you notice two or more of the things on this list happening on a more regular basis. What next?

You first need to identify the cause (or causes) so you can remove those interferences from person’s life and allow them the time and space to naturally heal.

Take a look at this article for an in-depth look at the causes of cognitive decline. It’s quite a lengthy list of possibilities in today’s world.

Removing some of these interferences (i.e., medications) might be scary for you–and that’s understandable. Furthermore, there are supplements and protocols myself and my team use to specifically address cognitive decline. Feel free to ask a question or request a consultation if this article resonated with you. I’m happy to help.

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Dr. Aaron Ernst