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An Access Care Guide to the Early Warning Signs of Dementia: Symptoms to Look Out For

A home carer with elderly lady sitting in pretty garden

Here at Access Care, as a local live-in care agency with over 30 years of experience in the home care industry, we have seen first-hand the impact that dementia can have on people and their families. It is a condition that has touched so many of our home care clients, both in the past and present, so it really is a topic deeply embedded in our hearts. 

You’ll find in our Access Care guide, that we aim to demystify the early warning signs of dementia and highlight the importance of understanding and recognising these symptoms. We will explore why early diagnosis is so vital and how to seek professional help. 

We will also discuss the role of in-home dementia care for those diagnosed with dementia, highlighting the unique support systems available through organisations like Access Care. Whether you're looking out for yourself or a family member, staying informed is the crucial first step on this journey and can make the world of difference. 

Our Guide to Understanding Dementia: Access Care Explains All

What Exactly is the Condition of Dementia?

Dementia is an umbrella term for a range of cognitive disorders characterised by memory loss, impaired judgement, and decreased social and occupational functioning. 

It is not a natural part of ageing but is instead a result of various diseases of the brain, such as Alzheimer's, frontotemporal dementia, or vascular dementia. Dementia is a growing public health concern as the population ages, making recognition and early intervention vital.

Spotting the Early Warning Signs of Dementia in Your Relative or Home Care Client

Cognitive Decline Beyond The Normal Ageing Process

While the occasional memory lapse is a normal part of ageing, consistent and progressive memory decline is not. Dementia-related memory loss often disrupts daily life and is characterised by forgetting recently learned information, important dates or events, and repeatedly asking for the same information. 

This is often one of the first signs picked up on by loved ones or a live-in carer providing home care services.

An Inability to Perform Established Daily Tasks

Loved ones or home care clients with emerging dementia may find it increasingly difficult to plan or complete familiar tasks. They may struggle to manage a budget, follow a recipe, or keep track of monthly bills. This is often due to a decreased ability to concentrate, coupled with memory lapses.

A Marked Difference in Difficulty with Language and Communication

Another telling sign of dementia is a noticeable difficulty in communication. Sufferers may struggle to follow or join a conversation, find themselves stopping in the middle of a conversation without knowing how to continue, or repetitively use the same words. 

They may also have trouble with vocabulary, such as finding the right words for common items. This not only affects their ability to express thoughts but also has an impact on personal and social interactions, leading to frustration and withdrawal.

Disorientation and Confusion in Familiar Settings

Those with early dementia may experience difficulties in recognising and navigating familiar places. This can lead to confusion and disorientation, potentially placing them at risk of accidents or getting lost, even in locales they have known for years.

Changes in Judgment or Decision-Making

Often overlooked but equally important is the alteration in judgement or decision-making capabilities in individuals with early dementia. 

This could manifest as poor understanding or assessment of safety risks, such as not recognising a hot stove as a danger, or making unusually poor decisions in financial matters, like giving away large sums of money to scams. 

Changes in Mood and Personality

Another one of the earliest signs of dementia commonly described by our live in carers is a change in behaviour, with the person displaying rapid mood swings or a change in personality for no apparent reason. This may involve irritability, intensified depression, or social withdrawal.

Often Misplacing Items and an Inability to Retrace Their Steps

A common early warning sign of dementia is the frequent misplacing of items and not being able to retrace steps to find them. 

Unlike typical forgetfulness, where retracing your steps might help you recall where you put something, individuals with dementia may put things in unusual places and lack the ability to recall how they got there.

Displaying Difficulty in Adapting to Change

For someone beginning to experience the effects of dementia, adhering to a routine may become increasingly important as it provides a sense of control. 

Therefore, they may exhibit significant stress or anxiety over small changes in their daily schedule or environment. This difficulty in adapting to change can manifest as fear, frustration, or anger over seemingly minor modifications.

Withdrawal from Social Activities or Work

Individuals facing the challenges of early dementia might withdraw from hobbies, social activities, or work projects they previously enjoyed or excelled in. This withdrawal often results from their recognition of declining memory and fear of embarrassment or difficulty keeping up with conversations and activities.

Understanding these signs and taking them seriously can lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment, which can greatly improve the life quality of the individual affected and their family. If you or someone you love is exhibiting these symptoms, consulting with a healthcare professional for a comprehensive evaluation is a crucial next step.

Approaching a Loved One Or Relative of Your Home Care Client About Your Concerns

Maybe you're a concerned relative noticing potential signs of dementia in a loved one, or a live-in carer observing behaviours that raise questions. Here are some tips to navigate that important conversation with care, be it with the person or a loved one of theirs.

  • Choose the Right Time and Place: Find a quiet, comfortable setting where you won't be interrupted, and make sure it's a good time to talk.

  • Express Your Concerns Gently: Use "I" statements to express your concerns. For example, "I've noticed you've been forgetting appointments, and I'm worried about you."

  • Listen to Their Feelings: Be prepared to listen. Your loved one might express fear, confusion, or frustration. Acknowledge these feelings and offer your support.

  • Suggest a Doctor's Visit: Gently suggest visiting a healthcare professional.  Assure them that you'll be there for support every step of the way.

  • Offer Reassurance: Remind them that there’s assistance available and that the goal is to help them maintain their independence for as long as possible.

Navigating a conversation about dementia requires patience and compassion. Remember, the aim is to support and to encourage them to seek professional advice.

The Importance of The Early Detection of Dementia In our Loved Ones and Home Care Clients

Early diagnosis of dementia is so crucial for several reasons.  An early diagnosis means individuals and their families can plan for the future, put support networks in place, such as hiring in-home dementia care, and have informed discussions with their healthcare providers about managing the condition. 

Also, some of the causes of dementia can be treated and their symptoms managed better when identified early, offering patients the best chance for more effective treatment.

The Dementia Diagnosis Process

Receiving a diagnosis of dementia usually involves a thorough assessment of the person’s medical history, physical and neurological examinations, and a battery of cognitive tests. These evaluations aim to rule out other potential causes of their cognitive decline and determine the specific type of dementia, if it is present.

The diagnosis process for dementia can be complex and often involves lots of healthcare professionals, including neurologists, psychologists, and geriatricians, to ensure a comprehensive evaluation.

This thorough approach ensures that the diagnosis is accurate, allowing for targeted treatment strategies and support services, such as in-home dementia care, to be implemented as early as possible.

Enhancing Quality of Life

Early detection will often result in better management of the condition and improved quality of life. This might involve initiating medication, engaging in cognitive stimulation activities, and making lifestyle adjustments that support brain health.

Seeking Professional Care

When the signs of dementia emerge, it's imperative to seek professional care. Healthcare providers, including specialists in neurology, geriatrics, and psychiatry, are equipped to diagnose, treat, and manage the condition. They can offer guidance on available services and support networks and help in deciding on care options, including home care.

How Dementia Can Be Treated

The treatment of dementia is two-pronged, focusing both on alleviating symptoms and addressing the underlying causes when possible. Various medications are available to manage cognitive and behavioural symptoms. 

Patients with Alzheimer's disease, for instance, can benefit from cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine, which can slow the progression of symptoms.

Tips on Knowing When to Seek Professional Help

Recognising the need for professional help can be a daunting process. Family members should be vigilant for signs that caring for their loved one is becoming too difficult or when their safety or the quality of their life is at risk. 

Seeking the help of professionals is not a sign of failure but a proactive step in ensuring the very best possible care for the individual with dementia.

Dementia Care at Home Services for Those With Dementia

For many individuals with dementia, home is synonymous with comfort and familiarity. In-home dementia care can provide a level of comfort and continuity that is invaluable in managing the condition. 

Live-in care services, such as those offered by us here at Access Care, have a focus on maintaining a safe and stimulating environment for those with dementia, while also offering respite to family home carers.

Tips & Advice on Introducing In-Home Dementia Care

Bringing in a home carer for a loved one with dementia can mark a significant change for families. Here are some of our Access Care tips and advice from a local live-in care agency on how to broach this delicate subject effectively:

  • Start the Conversation Early: Begin discussing home care options before the need becomes critical. This allows your loved one to be more involved in the decision-making process.

  • Focus on the Positives: Highlight the benefits of in home dementia care, such as maintaining independence, staying in a familiar environment, and receiving personalised 24 hour live in care.

  • Use Real Examples: Share stories or examples of how home care has helped others with dementia. This can make the concept more relatable and less intimidating.

  • Involve Healthcare Professionals: Sometimes, advice or recommendations from doctors or dementia care specialists can be more readily accepted.

  • Be Empathetic: Understand and acknowledge their feelings of loss of independence. Reassure them that the goal is to enhance their quality of life by bringing in a live-in carer.

  • Offer Choices: Instead of dictating decisions, present home care as an option among several. Giving choices can help them feel more in control.

  • Reassure About Safety: Discuss how in-home dementia care can provide safety and reduce the risks associated with living alone with dementia.

  • Address Concerns Patiently: Be ready to answer questions and address concerns they might have about having a new person in their home.

  • Plan a Trial Period: Suggest starting with a short term respite care arrangement to see how it goes, which might seem less daunting than a permanent change.

  • Highlight the Respite for Family Home Carers: Explain how having a professional domiciliary care service can also provide the family with necessary breaks, ensuring everyone's well-being.

Approaching the topic with sensitivity and understanding can make the transition to in-home dementia care smoother and more acceptable for everyone involved.

Access Care Services: Your Live in Carer Agency

Access Care is a live in carer agency with over 30 years of experience, specialising in providing personalised home care for our clients. Our approach to dementia care is centred on maintaining daily routines and interests, fostering independence, and providing compassionate support to both the individual and their family.

  • Personalised Care for Home Care Clients: Access Care creates custom care solutions tailored to each client's specific needs, preferences, and stage of dementia, ensuring a personal approach to their well-being.

  • 24 Hour Live in Care Support: Offers round-the-clock care, providing peace of mind for families knowing that their loved one is in the safe hands of their live in carer at all times.

  • Live in Carers & Medication Management: Having a Live-in carer manage their clients meds ensure that they are taken correctly and on time, managing prescriptions and coordinating with healthcare providers as necessary.

  • Cognitive Stimulation: Engages clients in activities designed to stimulate their cognitive functions, helping to slow the progression of symptoms related to dementia.

  • Daily Routine Maintenance: Helps maintain a daily routine, fostering a sense of normalcy and stability for individuals with dementia.

  • Nutritional Support: A home carer is able to cook nutritious meals tailored to their client's dietary needs and preferences, promoting overall health and well-being.

  • Mobility and Physical Activity Assistance: Having a live-in carer at home means they are there to encourage and assist their client with regular physical activity, adapting exercises to meet the client's ability and health status, which can enhance their mobility and mood.

  • Safety and Comfort in the Home: A home carer can ensure adequate safety measures and modifications in the home to prevent falls and accidents, ensuring a safe living environment.

  • Companion Care and Social Interaction: A live-in carer can provide companionship, which can in turn reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation by engaging in conversation, games, and outings as appropriate.

  • Family Support and Respite Care: Offers short term respite care for family home carers, providing them with the necessary break to recharge, with the reassurance that their loved one is cared for.

How Our Live In Carers Can Help Your Loved One

Our live in carers are extensively trained and skilled in supporting individuals with dementia. They provide 24 hour live in care, aiding with personal hygiene, cooking meals, companion care and ensuring medication adherence. 

They also engage the client in cognitive activities, facilitate social interactions, and provide emotional support through the varied stages of dementia.

Testimonials from Home Care Clients and Their Families

Hearing from those who have experienced our in-home dementia care firsthand can offer insight into the support we provide. Read our testimonials here.

Our clients and their families have shared their stories of how Access Care has made a positive impact on their lives, offering peace of mind, nurturing companion care, and maintaining a high standard of care that aligns with our clients' personal preferences.

Tips for Family Home Carers

Practical Tips for Caring at Home

Managing the role of provider of in-home dementia care as a family member can be overwhelming. Our experienced home carers can offer practical advice, such as creating a safe environment, maintaining consistent routines, and using clear, simple communication, which can ease this burden and enhance the carer experience.

Self-Care Advice for Home Carers

Carer burnout is a significant concern, and it's essential for those looking after a loved one with dementia to practise self-care. Balancing personal needs with home carer duties, seeking short term respite care when necessary, and staying informed about the condition can all contribute to the well-being of both the carer and the person receiving dementia  care at home.

Success Stories from Our Home Care Clients

At Access Care, we believe in the power of shared experiences to inspire and uplift. Our clients' success stories reflect the profound impact our home care services have on individuals coping with dementia and their families. 

One such testimony comes from the Johnson family, who found solace and support through our comprehensive home care approach. Their mother, diagnosed with Alzheimer's five years ago, has shown remarkable improvements in mood and cognitive abilities, thanks to the personalised and engaging activities facilitated by our dedicated live-in carer

Another heartwarming success story is from the Simpson family, whose father, struggling with late-stage dementia, regained a sense of joy and engagement through our tailored music therapy sessions, significantly enhancing his quality of life.

These stories underscore the significance of personalised, compassionate in home dementia care in transforming the lives of those affected by dementia, providing not just medical support but also emotional and psychological upliftment.

Top Dementia Charities in the UK for Support

  1. Alzheimer's Society - The Alzheimer's Society is a care and research charity for people with dementia and their carers. It provides information, support, and guidance to help manage the condition and advocate for change.atheir Admiral Nurse service. Admiral Nurses provide the specialist dementia support that families need.

  2. The Alzheimer's Research UK - The UK's leading dementia research charity, Alzheimer’s Research UK, is focused on preventing, treating, and curing dementia. They also offer advice and information on dementia.

  3. Age UK - Age UK provides information and support services tailored for the elderly, including those affected by dementia, offering practical advice on care options, health, and finance.

Each of these charities offers valuable resources and support services for individuals and families navigating the challenges of dementia.

Empowering Awareness: It’s Time to Navigate Signs of Dementia with Confidence

Understanding the early warning signs of dementia empowers individuals to take action and seek help. Early detection allows for better management of the condition, which can significantly improve the quality of life for those affected. 

If you've recognised any of the symptoms discussed in your loved one, we encourage you to reach out to healthcare providers and consider the benefits of in home dementia care services, such as those provided by us here at Access Care.

If you have a relative or loved one who could benefit from the support of a live-in carer, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. You can call us on 01264 319399 or email to learn more about how we can assist you. 

As a home care client of ours, you can trust that one of our home carers will provide you 24 hour live in care tailored to meet your individual needs. Let us be your partner in care, supporting you every step of the way.

Remember, you are not alone in this. With the right support and an informed approach, living with dementia can still involve a rich and fulfilling life – one that our home care services are dedicated to promoting and facilitating.


Apr 24

Discover the essence of dementia care with Access Care. Learn to recognise early signs, understand diagnosis importance, and explore personalised live-in home care solutions. Stay informed, seek support, and embark on a journey of compassionate care by speaking with Access Care who will can really help in navigating dementia with confidence.


Apr 24

A great informative read on those living with dementia and the early warning signs that Live In Carers and their loved ones can look out for. Live In Care is a great option in supporting those living with Dementia.


Apr 23

In-home dementia care can really help those living with dementia to feel more confident and positive.


Apr 23

Such an insightful blog all about the early warning signs of dementia and what symptoms to look out for in your loved one. Live-in Care can really help provide continuity and familiarity to those with Dementia.


Apr 23

An insightful and informative read to help understand some of the early signs of dementia. It is not just memory lapses but this is often one of the first signs that are noticed by loved ones but can also include an inability to perform usual daily tasks, difficulty with communication and remembering words, confusion and disorientation even in familiar surrounding, changes to mood and personality, misplacing items and not being able to recall recent actions, displaying difficulty in adapting to changes to even the smallest of changes to routine and withdrawal from work and social activities. This article has more in depth information about all of these signs and more.

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