If you or someone you care about is getting forgetful or confused, you might be worried it’s dementia. There are many other conditions that can cause the symptoms of dementia, so the first step is to talk to your doctor.
The early signs of dementia can be very vague and they vary from person to person. They can include:
- being vague in everyday conversations
- losing enthusiasm for things you usually enjoy
- taking longer to do routine things
- forgetting people or places you used to know
- difficulties finding words and thinking
- changes in personality or behaviour
- finding it hard to follow instructions
- becoming more unpredictable emotionally
It's important not to assume a person has dementia even if they have these types of symptoms. They can also be caused by strokes, depression, anxiety, medicines, alcoholism, infections and hormone disorders.
Expert advice - talk to your doctor about dementia
It is important to see a doctor if you are worried that you or someone close may be showing signs of dementia. Watch the video below and learn how you can start this conversation with someone.
What you can do
If it's dementia, then an early diagnosis is important so you and your family can plan for the future and receive the help and support needed. If it's Alzheimer's disease, then it is helpful to start taking medicine as soon as possible.
Heart disease and diabetes can increase your risk of developing dementia. Looking after your health by not smoking, eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and being a healthy weight will all help.
You can also reduce the risk of developing dementia by looking after your brain health. Dementia Australia runs a program called Your Brain Matters. It is based on scientific evidence to help you look after your brain function and reduce the risk of developing dementia. To find out more visit the Your Brain Matters website.
If you are worried about your risk of developing dementia, call the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.
Visit the Dementia Australia website to find out about other risk factors for dementia, including tips on how to reduce them.
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Last reviewed: October 2018