Seven Lesser-Known Signs of Dementia that Might Surprise You

Friday, August 4, 2023

While most people are aware of its familiar symptoms like memory loss, there are lesser-known signs of dementia that can be just as important.

Dementia is a condition that affects millions of individuals worldwide. There are many forms of the condition, each with distinct characteristics, including Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, and Frontotemporal dementia (FTD), among others. Dementia is commonly associated with memory loss but many other symptoms can also present themselves. By exploring the little-known signs of dementia, you can better recognize the condition and seek treatment in its early stages.

Please read on to learn more.

Loss of Sense of Smell

Often disregarded or attributed to aging, changes in the ability to smell can impact one's enjoyment of food, sense of safety (for example, detecting spoiled food or gas leaks), and overall quality of life. Paying attention to this overlooked symptom can help identify dementia in its early stages.

Disorientation with Time and Place

Beyond simple forgetfulness, dementia can lead to confusion about time and place. Individuals may become disoriented, unable to recall the day, month, or their current location. This symptom can cause anxiety and a sense of unease as familiar landmarks of life become increasingly elusive.

Difficulty with Problem-Solving

Dementia can impair a person's ability to solve problems and make logical decisions. Tasks that were once routine, like following a recipe or writing checks, may become increasingly challenging. Individuals may struggle to connect the dots, find solutions, or understand cause-and-effect relationships, indicating cognitive decline.

Visual Processing Problems

Individuals with dementia may struggle with depth perception, have difficulty judging distances, or experience challenges with reading, writing, and interpreting visual information. These changes can impact daily tasks, such as driving, navigating crowded spaces, or even recognizing familiar faces.

Unusual Apathy or Increased Agitation

A change in behavior, such as a sudden lack of interest or withdrawal from activities, can be an early sign of dementia. Conversely, some individuals may exhibit increased agitation, restlessness, or irritability, which can be attributed to the cognitive changes occurring within.

Sleep Disorders

Those with dementia may experience changes in sleep patterns, such as insomnia or excessive daytime sleepiness. Disrupted sleep can exacerbate cognitive decline, affect mood, and disrupt overall well-being. Identifying and addressing these sleep-related symptoms is vital in providing holistic care.

Emotional Disconnectedness

Dementia can manifest as a loss of empathy. Individuals may struggle to understand or respond to the emotions of those around them, leading to strained relationships. This emotional disconnect can be distressing for both the person with dementia and their loved ones, highlighting the importance of patience, emotional support, and understanding.

Recognizing these behavioral shifts can aid in early diagnosis and intervention. Dementia is a complex condition that extends beyond memory loss, and its lesser-known symptoms often go unnoticed. By familiarizing ourselves with these surprising signs, we can become better equipped to identify dementia in its early stages, allowing for timely support and care.

Let's continue raising awareness and promoting empathy for those affected by this condition. If you have questions about dementia or require additional resources, we are here to help. Please contact us anytime.

About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For more than 25 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved ones. For more information about our funeral, cremation, memorial, repast, and grief counseling services, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at

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