Five Early Signs of Dementia: Recognizing Cognitive Decline

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 50 million people are living with dementia and nearly 10 million new cases are diagnosed every year.

While dementia affects each person in a different way depending upon the impact of the disease, the signs and symptoms of dementia can be understood in three phases: early stage, middle stage and late stage. In this article, we will be highlighting warning signs associated with dementia in the early stage.

1. Memory Changes

Memory trouble related to dementia in the early stage tends to be less noticeable and involves short-term memory. An individual might be able to recall events that happened years ago but have difficulty remembering what they did that morning or even a few moments earlier. Other common memory changes include forgetting where an item was left, struggling to remember what they are doing in the moment, or forgetting daily tasks and appointments.

2. Changes in Mood / Loss of Interest

A noticeable or sudden change in mood could be an early sign of dementia. If your loved one is typically very engaged and active but suddenly becomes too depressed or withdrawn to participate in regular activities, it may be time to seek help. This early sign holds especially true for individuals with no history or underlying cause of depression.

3. Repetitiveness 

Repeating daily tasks, such as watering the plants or shaving, is common for those living with dementia. Early symptoms of dementia also include repetition in conversation, such as asking or answering questions multiple times.

4. Difficulty Communicating

Struggling to communicate thoughts or feelings is another common early sign of dementia. A person living with dementia may have difficulty expressing their thoughts and feelings as well as have difficulty carrying on a conversation with others. Forgetting names of people, places and things in a conversation is also common.

5. Poor Judgment

Poor judgment associated with dementia is not just one poor decision, but a pattern of poor decisions and actions. Some examples include poor judgment related to finances, personal grooming, hygiene, social situations and driving.


The early stages of dementia are often overlooked because they are subtle and slow to progress. If you notice signs of cognitive decline in your loved one, it may be time to escalate care and treatment or begin to research local memory care communities. A good place to begin is an appointment with your loved one’s primary care provider.

Fortunately, studies also show that with cognitive stimulation programs, individuals can strengthen and improve certain brain regions to delay or decrease the risk of dementia. These programs have been shown to help seniors improve their concentration and overall memory ability through creative and engaging activities.

Today’s seniors have more options than ever when it comes to treating the effects of cognitive decline. Dedicated memory care programs are designed to care for those living with dementia and other memory disorders by keeping them active and engaged. At Prestige Senior Living, we offer our award-winning Memory Care program, Expressions, designed to provide those living with dementia the care they need and deserve in a comfortable and supportive environment.

Learn more about our memory care program or find a community near you today.