6 Symptoms of Dementia to Look Out For

Dementia is a debilitating disease that affects the elderly, and it’s important to keep an eye out for early signs in parents or loved ones. Early detection of dementia symptoms can help manage the disease, making life much easier for the patient and their family.

Here are six dementia symptoms to track in elderly parents:

1. Memory loss

Memory loss is perhaps the most commonly known and recognizable symptom of dementia. It is a result of the damage to the brain caused by the disease and is usually the first sign that something is wrong.

Memory loss can be very distressing for elderly parents, as it can cause them to forget important dates and events or even people they’ve known for years. Memory loss can also cause confusion and frustration, as they may struggle to remember basic facts or remember where they put something important.

Memory loss can also be identified by changes in behavior or personality. People with dementia may become withdrawn, irritable, or even aggressive as they struggle to remember things or find the words needed to express themselves. They may also become very anxious or agitated if they cannot remember or find something they need.

2. Difficulty with Language

People with dementia may have trouble with communication, such as finding the right words or forgetting names. They may also need help understanding complex instructions or speaking in complete sentences.

If your elderly parent is experiencing language-related symptoms of dementia, it’s essential to keep track of how often these issues occur. Pay attention to how well they can express their thoughts, feelings, and needs. Note any changes in their ability to express themselves, such as forgetting words or speaking in incomplete sentences.

Another critical symptom to watch for in relation to language is repetition. People with dementia may repeat the same words or phrases multiple times. They may also repeat questions, even after they’ve been answered.

3. Changes in Mood and Behavior

Changes in mood and behavior are among the most common signs of dementia in elderly parents. These changes may range from increased irritability and apathy to sudden bouts of aggression or paranoia. Even if these changes are subtle, they may indicate an underlying issue.

In addition to any sudden changes in mood or behavior, look for signs that your parents are struggling to maintain relationships with family and friends. This may be due to depression or difficulty understanding social cues, which can be a sign of dementia.

4. Difficulty with Daily Activities

As our parents age, keeping track of any changes in their daily activities is important. This includes everything from basic tasks like bathing, dressing, and eating to more complex activities like paying bills, managing medications, or going to appointments. 

Changes in any of these activities can be a sign of dementia. If your parents are having more difficulty than usual with any of their daily activities, it’s crucial to keep track of the changes and bring them up to their doctor.

5. Poor Judgment

Poor judgment is another common symptom of dementia in elderly parents. This can manifest itself in varied ways, like difficulty making decisions, difficulty understanding consequences, or a decrease in caution when discussing personal information or financial matters. 

If your elderly parent is exhibiting signs of poor judgment, discuss this with your parent and their doctor so that the appropriate steps can be taken.

6. Inability to Recognize Faces

One of the most common and earliest dementia symptoms is the inability to recognize faces, even those of close family and friends. This condition, known as Prosopagnosia, can cause extreme distress to the individual. 

It is important to monitor your elderly parents for any changes in their ability to recognize people, as this can be an early sign of dementia.

They may still remember people’s names and be able to recognize them if they are in a familiar setting. However, they may forget who people are if they meet them outside of that setting.


If you have been noticing any of these symptoms in your elderly parent, it’s important to seek medical advice. Dementia care can be challenging, but early detection and treatment can help in managing the disease.

It’s also important to give emotional support to your loved one, as dementia can be a confusing and isolating experience. By tracking these symptoms and seeking medical advice, you can help your elderly parent live a more comfortable and fulfilling life.

The Greens at Greenwich is a place that has been recognized for its outstanding care of those with memory issues by both the Connecticut Assisted Living Association and the Alzheimer’s Association. Our compassionate team can provide your loved one with the care they need and deserve. Ask us about dementia care today!

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