Early Warning Signs of Dementia – Don’t Miss These Crucial Clues!

by | Jun 15, 2024 | Dementia, Dementia Behaviors, Dementia Falls, Dementia Medication, Depression


Dementia is a progressive condition that affects a person’s cognitive abilities, memory, and behavior. Recognizing the warning signs of dementia is crucial for early intervention and management of the condition. Understanding the cognitive decline indicators and behavioral change signals can help individuals and their families seek appropriate medical attention and support. In this post, we will explore the early warning signals of dementia to increase awareness and understanding of this condition.

1. What are the cognitive decline indicators of dementia?

Early warning signs of dementia

Memory loss: Difficulty in remembering recent events or important dates.

Everyone forgets things from time to time. What we are looking for here is a pattern of forgetfulness. Important dates that Mom has never forgotten and now suddenly forgets could be a red flag. Forgetting what she had for lunch may not be a big deal. But forgetting that she went to her daughter’s baby shower last week is a big deal.

Confusion, disorientation, and difficulty understanding time and place is an early warning sign of dementia.

Again, some confusion about what day it is may be perfectly normal. However constant confusion about dates and their location is a red flag you should pay attention to.

Language problems: Struggling to find the right words or communicate effectively.

This is a common first sign. Sometimes a person with dementia will substitute another word that makes no sense at all.

Impaired judgment: Making poor decisions in everyday tasks is an early warning sign of dementia.

Here are a few examples.

Going shopping in the summer in Houston with a coat on.

Not bathing or paying attention to personal hygiene. This is often an early warning sign of dementia that is overlooked.

Paying the same bill multiple times or forgetting to pay it at all.

Leaving the stove on repeatedly can be an early warning sign of dementia.

Running out of gas on multiple occasions.

Showing up for an appointment on the wrong day and repeated times when they don’t show up for appointments.

Difficulty completing familiar tasks: Trouble with routine activities such as cooking or driving.

Recognizing the early warning signals of dementia is crucial for timely intervention and support. One indicator to be mindful of is difficulty completing familiar tasks. Simple activities that were once effortless, such as preparing a meal or following a familiar recipe, may become increasingly challenging for individuals experiencing cognitive decline.

This could manifest as confusion or frustration when attempting to perform routine tasks, leading to a sense of disorientation and a loss of confidence. Observing such behavioral changes can provide valuable insights into potential cognitive impairment and prompt the necessary steps to seek medical evaluation and support.


2. What are the behavioral changes that signal dementia?

Early Warning signs of dementia

Mood swings: Unexplained mood changes, including increased irritability or agitation.

Sadness and depression may also be noticed. Experiencing unexplained mood changes, such as increased irritability or agitation, can serve as behavioral changes that may signal the onset of dementia. These mood swings can disrupt daily life and impact social interactions, leading to confusion and distress for the individual and their loved ones.

It’s important to note that while occasional mood swings are common, persistent and unexplained alterations in behavior should prompt further evaluation, particularly in older adults. Recognizing these behavioral shifts as potential indicators of dementia can facilitate early detection and intervention, enabling individuals to receive the necessary support and medical attention to address cognitive decline effectively.

Social withdrawal or Apathy: Loss of interest in social activities and reduced interaction with others.

When Doug’s mom dropped out of her weekly bridge and Mahjong games the family knew something was wrong. She has always been a social butterfly and now was a shrinking violet. This was a big red flag.

3. What are the early warning signals of dementia?

Early Warning Signs of Dementia

Repetitive questioning: Repeatedly asking the same questions or forgetting previous answers.

This is usually the first sign families will notice. And it can frustrate many caregivers.

Misplacing items: Regularly misplacing personal belongings or forgetting where items are kept.

This is a big red flag if lost items are blamed on someone else. Also when the items are found in unusual places this may be a cause for concern.

Difficulty following conversations: Struggling to maintain focus during conversations or getting easily distracted.

Also, notice problems following a TV show or reading a book.

Changes in sleep patterns: Disrupted sleep, insomnia, or excessive daytime napping.

It’s okay to take a nap. But if someone sleeps more than their normal, this is a red flag. It could be dementia or something else. And it should be addressed by a doctor.

Trouble with spatial awareness: Difficulty judging distances or navigating familiar surroundings.

Individuals experiencing early warning signals of dementia may exhibit challenges in spatial orientation, leading to difficulties in maneuvering through familiar environments or recognizing spatial relationships. This may manifest as hesitance or confusion when moving around the home or navigating well-known routes, potentially increasing the risk of accidents or getting lost.

Observing these spatial awareness issues alongside other cognitive decline indicators and behavioral changes can provide valuable insights for early intervention and support, prompting individuals and their families to seek appropriate medical attention and assistance in managing potential dementia-related challenges.



Recognizing the warning signs of dementia is essential for early diagnosis and intervention. By understanding these signals, individuals and their families can seek appropriate medical care and support. If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to consult a healthcare professional for a comprehensive assessment and personalized care plan. Increasing awareness of the early warning signals of dementia can help promote early detection and improve the quality of life for those affected by this condition.

We Are Here To Help

At Sycamore Creek Ranch Memory Care we are here to help. We want families to make the best decision for their situation.

Furthermore, the staff at Sycamore Creek Ranch is proactive. That means we are not waiting for a problem to arise. Instead, we are actively engaged with every resident. And with only 16 residents we can do that!

If you are looking for Memory Care in The Woodlands or Memory Care in Spring, Texas come for a tour at Sycamore Creek Ranch! See how we can help.

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