3 surprising signs of dementia

It’s not just about forgetting where you left your keys or remembering whether you turned the oven off. There are some other more subtle indications that may indicate dementia.


The topic isn’t something we like to think about and we tend to get more forgetful as we age, so it’s easy to be anxious when we needn’t worry. But if you or a loved one is showing signs, early treatment is beneficial. Some cases of dementia are caused by medical conditions that can be treated, but most of the time dementia cannot be reversed. However, treatment may help slow or minimise the development of symptoms. Candis health editor Karen Evennett explains three unexpected signs…

You’ve become a hoarder

Hoarding is more likely to happen in the early and middle stages of dementia and often stems from trying to have some control. For example you may buy a newspaper and save it without actually reading it.
Many of us are guilty of hoarding too much stuff but when behaviour like this is new it is linked to dementia, according to research at the University of California.

Your inner lie detector is failing you

For example, you no longer spot when someone is being sarcastic or insincere. That’s because dementia messes with the part of the brain that interprets “higher order” verbal information.

Scientists at the University of California also found that people with dementia sometimes behave in socially inappropriate ways or undergo fundamental shifts in their outlook, such as switching political affiliations or changing religions.

You’ve never had a sweet tooth – until now

Shifts in the kinds of food you normally crave – especially a newfound preference for sweets – is another sign. Japanese researchers say dementia can damage the part of our brain that control taste buds and appetite. Some of the dementia sufferers in their study were known to eat out-of-date or rotten food.

And the classic signs?

According to Age UK, the following common difficulties can be symptoms of early dementia…

  • Struggling to remember things that happened recently, even though you can easily remember things that happened a long time ago.
  • Struggling to follow conversations, particularly in groups.
  • Forgetting the names of people or things.
  • Struggling to follow a story on TV or in a book, or understand magazine and newspaper articles.
  • Having trouble remembering the day or date.
  • Having difficulty remembering where you put something, or where things are kept.
  • Repeating yourself or losing the thread of what you are saying.
  • Finding your thinking is fuzzy.
  • Struggling to do things you used to find easy.
  • Feeling confused even in a familiar place.
  • Having problems controlling your mood, or controlling your emotions.

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