Dementia Expert

Changes Experienced in Stage 1

In the early stages of dementia, your parent will show consistent, increasing memory loss, especially about recent events. You’ll notice minor difficulties in handling everyday matters, less interest in hobbies, some disorientation to time and place, and perhaps a need for prompting to keep appointments or to look after themselves and their home as they used to.
Stage 1 is called the ‘mild’ stage, but it is actually one of the most difficult periods for you and your parent. People in Stage 1 dementia may realize they are losing control and fight back by denying the problem. Children also find it easy to attribute problems to ‘getting older’.
These denials mean delayed diagnosis and treatment, often putting the person with dementia at more risk. An early diagnosis by a board-certified neurologist specializing in dementia can result in your parent receiving medications that may help slow the progression of the disease. Treatment at an early stage may help your parent retain a higher functioning level for a longer period of time.

Stage 1 Checklist

Short Term Memory Loss, Confusion, Focus
/_/ My parent is beginning to forget recent experiences such as appointments made yesterday or last week.
/_/ She has trouble with new experiences such as a new telephone number or area code, or meeting someone new.
/_/ My parent sometimes has trouble finding familiar places like her home or mine, the grocery store, and the doctor’s office.
/_/ My parent finds it difficult to follow sequential directions like recipes, projects, or greetings, such as come in, take your coat off, sit down.
/_/ My parent has a shorter attention span and sometimes finds it difficult to focus on specific tasks or finish activities.
/_/ My parent has had word finding problems and has filled in the sentence with a non-related word or made-up words that sound like gibberish to cover the difficulty.
/_/ My parent seems to be talking less.  (This may help avoid having to find words or making another embarrassing mistake.)
Initiative/Self Care
/_/ My parent has difficulties with decisions on menus or selecting clothing to wear.
/_/ My parent has begun to make inappropriate driving decisions.
/_/ My parent has begun to make inappropriate financial decisions.
/_/ My parent has lost interest in hobbies, friends, and other activities.
/_/ My parent is not as well groomed as she used to be.
/_/ My parent doesn’t appear to bathe as often as she used to.
Personality/Mood Changes
/_/ My parent has mood swings that he didn’t have before AD.
/_/ My parent makes excuses to avoid friends and family.
/_/ My parent has become depressed.
/_/ My parent has experienced a reversal in personalities from kind to nasty, outgoing to reclusive, gentle to sharp tongued, or other obvious and significant changes.
You’ll start to notice significant memory loss and severe disorientation about time and place. Your parent will have great difficulty in problem solving, and be unable to handle social relationships or function independently except for simple tasks. Your parent will need in­creas­ing assistance with dressing, grooming, preparing meals, taking medications, handling household activities, driving, and making sound decisions on safety and finance.

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