Signs and Symptoms
During the early stages of dementia the person themselves or their family or friends may notice difficulties in a number of areas.
This may include:
During the later stages of dementia most people will become increasingly frail due to the progression of the disease. They will also gradually become dependent on others for all of their care.
Knowing what to expect can help everyone to prepare. It can enable the person with dementia to think about the kind of treatment and care they might want, and allows them to write an informed advance decision before they reach this stage so they can have input into how they will be cared for.
Other areas for planning ahead include arrangements for decisions about property and legal affairs. Knowing what to expect also allows carers and family to think about these aspects too.
There is a wide variety of changed behaviours that can pose difficulties for a carer trying to provide support to someone with dementia. These may vary with the stage and sub-type of dementia.
These behaviours include:
There are also many other behaviours such as being withdrawn and unresponsive, suspiciousness of other people, making accusations, sleep disturbance etc which carers and care staff can struggle to know how best to respond.
These behaviours are often described as ‘difficult’. People with dementia can sometimes be labelled according to the behaviour. For example ‘he is a wanderer’. This ‘label’ can have a negative impact on both how the individual is perceived and how the person is supported.