Dementia isn’t something that shows up one day out of the blue.  It’s a progressive condition that starts to show itself in subtle ways eventually becoming much more apparent. People who suffer from dementia may not realize this is what’s happening to them, which is why it can be helpful for loved ones to spot the signs as early on as possible. 

The earlier you can intervene, the more you can manage the condition effectively, and ultimately improve the quality of your loved one’s life as the disease progresses. Here are some of the early signs of dementia to look for and what to do.

Memory Loss

Occasional forgetfulness is something that can happen to anybody, particularly as we get older. However, if you start to notice that your loved one is forgetting significant moments of the day or even periods of their life, then this is a red flag. Pay attention to how often your loved one is forgetting things, and whether there are any patterns.

If their memory loss starts to become such a problem that they start forgetting important things like going to appointments, paying bills or even taking their medication, then this is cause for concern. An assessment by a medical professional is critical.

Struggling to Carry Out Typically Familiar Tasks

People who are in the early stages of dementia may start to struggle to carry out tasks that were formerly simple and familiar to them. Something they’ve done for years may suddenly seem foreign, and feel downright confusing. You may notice that they have difficulty cooking a meal that they’ve always cooked or following basic instructions. This is usually followed by confusion, and sometimes even anger. It can be very disorienting to feel confused by something that was once like second nature, so be patient and understanding, yet don’t ignore this sign.


People suffering from dementia may find themselves disoriented, and even lost. It’s not uncommon for people with dementia to get lost somewhere they’re familiar with. An example would be going to the grocery store, and suddenly not realizing where they are or what they’re doing. This can be very scary, the same as it would be for a child getting lost without knowing where to go. This calls for immediate intervention, as your loved one getting lost could be downright dangerous.

Trouble Communicating

Another sign of dementia is difficulty finding the right words and communicating an idea. As the disease progresses, individuals may have trouble with their communication skills. They may repeat the same words or sentences over and over, and they may have trouble understanding what you’re saying too. 

Do you notice that your loved one is starting to speak slower, or even hesitantly as they choose their words? Do they have difficulty organizing their thoughts and expressing a cohesive sentence? This is a big indication that it’s time to explore whether dementia may be at play.

Remember, just because someone exhibits one of these signs doesn’t necessarily mean it’s dementia. Only a medical professional can make a correct diagnosis, and guide you on the right path.