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What Signs of Dementia Are Mistaken for Personality Traits?

While memory loss and confusion can be somewhat easy to identify as potential signs of dementia, the onset of the disease itself can be subtle. It may not be until you look back later that you are able to identify changes in personality, behaviour, and cognition that offered a clue as to what your loved one was facing. Here are a number of early symptoms that may masquerade as personality changes presented by the Toronto dementia care professionals at Home Care Assistance.

Symptom: Trouble following a storyline

Mistaken for: Absentminded, inconsiderate, impassive

If your loved one has difficulty following the storyline in a movie or conversation, it may be a symptom of early dementia. Many people with dementia have trouble finding the right words and they can forget the meanings of some words they hear. This symptom is often mistaken for merely not paying attention or being disinterested.

Symptom: Changes in judgment

Mistaken for: New outlook on life, adventurous

People with dementia may start to exhibit personality changes in the early stages of the disease. For example, someone may go from being very shy to suddenly outgoing. This is usually caused by changes in judgment rather than adopting a new attitude or outlook.

Symptom: Loss of interest in activities and hobbies

Mistaken for: Apathetic, listless, aimless

Apathy is a very common sign of early dementia that causes seniors to lose interest in activities and hobbies they once enjoyed. If your loved one no longer wants to go out or spend time with family and friends, don’t assume it’s just a normal personality change that comes with getting older.

Symptom: Being repetitive

Mistaken for: Monotonous, boring

The memory loss and behavioural changes that come with dementia often cause repetition. If your loved one is repeating the same questions or stories in conversation on a regular basis, don’t be so quick to chalk it up to “senior moments” or becoming boring with old age.

Symptom: Trouble adapting to changes

Mistaken for: Stubborn, headstrong, obstinate

In the early stages of dementia, your loved one is likely very frightened by the changes they can sense in themselves. They may have trouble recognizing people and places they know or difficulty following what’s going on around them. This causes most seniors with dementia to crave a routine and avoid new things. Don’t assume your loved one is merely being stubborn.

If you suspect your loved one may have dementia or another form of memory impairment, don’t wait to make an appointment with his or her physician. You may also want to consider home care in Toronto if you are concerned about your loved one living independently as he or she begins to face cognitive challenges. At Home Care Assistance, we offer flexible hourly and 24/7 live-in care Toronto families can depend on, ensuring your senior loved one has the support he or she needs to remain safe and comfortable at home. For more information, call a friendly Care Manager at (416) 488-8777.