Three lesser-known dementia warning signs can show up when talking, experts say

Dementia is a syndrome associated with an ongoing decline of brain functioning
Dementia is a syndrome associated with an ongoing decline of brain functioning -Credit:Getty Images/iStockphoto

Three signs of dementia can appear when a person is having a conversation - but many people may not be aware of this.

Dementia, which is a syndrome associated with an ongoing decline of brain functioning, is not only about memory loss. It can also affect the way you speak, think, feel and behave, the NHS says.

It is thought almost one million people in the UK are living with the condition. And this figure is only expected to rise due to our ageing population, reports the Express.

Many people are aware of some of the well-known symptoms of dementia. These include memory loss, reduced thinking speed and difficulty carrying out everyday tasks. However, there are some less well-known signs that could be early indicators of the condition.

One expert has explained more about symptoms to spot in social situations. Dr Henk Swanepoel, lead neuropsychologist at Cygnet Health Care, warned of a specific type of dementia that causes noticeable personality changes.

‌He shared three signs of frontotemporal dementia to spot during conversations. These include:

  • Making “cold” or insensitive statements

  • Making inappropriate jokes

  • Being withdrawn

Frontotemporal dementia is a type of dementia that causes problems with behaviour and language, according to the NHS. “Physically, a patient with dementia may present with slow movements, incontinence and swallowing difficulties,” the doctor said.

“The deterioration results in significant care needs cognitively as well as physically. Other early signs of frontotemporal dementia might result in personality changes which can manifest in ‘cold’ and insensitive statements, or blaming others for being ‘cold’ and insensitive.”

He further continued: “The reason for this behaviour is because the dementia is causing a lack of social insight or awareness. Often a dementia patient might make inappropriate jokes and/or have lack of tact, but patients can also be withdrawn, which can be out of character for them.”

Dr Swanepoel explained what to do if someone is diagnosed with dementia. “Once the diagnosis has been confirmed, try and approach all behaviour as a form of communication or a message, for example, anger can be a message of confusion, fear or pain,” he said.

“Try to identify triggers as soon as possible, such as a break in a person’s routine might cause upset. Distraction can be effective by focusing on what the person enjoys, going for a walk. A daily routine can also be very effective which creates structure and predictability.”