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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.

Recommended Related to Alzheimer's

Sundowning

Sundowning, or sundown syndrome, affects some people who have Alzheimer's disease and dementia. People with dementia who "sundown" get confused and agitated as the sun goes down -- and sometimes through the night. Sundowning may prevent people with dementia from sleeping well. It may also make them more likely to wander. Due to the stress it puts on caregivers, sundowning is a common cause of caregiver burnout.

Read the Sundowning article > >

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: June 11, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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