Five lesser-known symptoms of dementia that show up as ‘changes in behaviour’

Early onset dementia detailed by NHS expert

Emma Hewat, Head of Dementia at KYN, has more than 17 years’ experience of specialising in and advising on dementia.

While most are aware of the most obvious signs of dementia, such as struggling to remember new information, there are more subtle symptoms to take note of.

Hewat recommended looking out for “changes in behaviour”, which can include “losing confidence, becoming withdrawn and losing interest in friends, work, or hobbies”.

The expert added: “People living with dementia may also have disturbed sleep or vivid dreams, and problems recognising and understanding money.”

These can all be signs of normal ageing. What distinguishes them from dementia is when the “changes in mental abilities are more serious”.

These can all be signs of normal ageing! What distinguishes them from dementia is when the “changes in mental abilities are more serious”.

Hewat elaborated: “ Commonly the early signs of dementia include increasing memory loss, confusion, problems finding the right word and becoming lost in familiar places.”

As more of the brain is affected by the disease, those affected may start to struggle with budgeting for bills, they may lose track of the date and season, and struggle with decision-making.

There can be other causes of memory problems that are not connected to dementia.

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Examples include stress, menopause, medication, anxiety and feeling depressed.

Five lesser-known symptoms of dementia

  1. Losing confidence
  2. Becoming withdrawn
  3. Losing interest in friends, work, and hobbies
  4. Sleep disturbances
  5. Problems understanding money.

If dementia is suspected, and tests confirm that it is so, then you may want to start thinking about the next steps.

Hewat said: “To best support someone living with dementia, spaces need to feel familiar.

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“Social isolation should [also] be reduced as this can increase feelings of anxiety.

“At KYN, we have created a feeling of calm and well-being throughout our home in Bickley to ensure a sense of self, identity and purpose for people who are living with dementia.

“Ensuring your family member has access to fresh air, sunshine and natural light to maintain their body clocks and vitamin D levels improves sleep.”

Hewat added: “The sensory garden at KYN Bickley is designed to include plants that stimulate all the senses, and includes plenty of areas to sit and enjoy the space and sunshine, as well as a greenhouse for pottering about.”

Hewat is the Head of Dementia at KYN – the new innovative care home based in Bickley.

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