Warning Signs of Dementia

Topic Overview

Certain problems can be warning signs of dementia. Talk to a doctor if you, a friend, or a family member has been having increased difficulty with any of the following activities:

  • Learning and retaining new information (forgetting recent events and appointments or frequently misplacing objects)
  • Handling complex tasks, like balancing a checkbook
  • Knowing what to do when problems come up (such as knowing what to do if the bathroom is flooded) and using good judgment (for example, showing a new disregard for the rules of social conduct and doing or saying things that are inappropriate)
  • Finding his or her way around familiar places, driving to and from places he or she knows well (for example, getting lost when walking or driving from the house to the store a few blocks away)
  • Finding the right words to say what he or she wants to say
  • Understanding and responding to what he or she sees and hears
  • Acting more irritable or suspicious than usual, or withdrawing from conversation and activity

A person who has one or more of these warning signs may need to be evaluated by a doctor.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Peter J. Whitehouse, MD - Neurology
Last Revised June 11, 2013

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