Signs and symptoms of dementia result when once-healthy neurons, or nerve cells, in the brain stop working, lose connections with other brain cells, and die. While everyone loses some neurons as they age, people with dementia experience far greater loss.
The symptoms of dementia can vary and may include:
Experiencing memory loss, poor judgment, and confusion
Difficulty speaking, understanding and expressing thoughts, or reading and writing
Wandering and getting lost in a familiar neighborhood
Trouble handling money responsibly and paying bills
Using unusual words to refer to familiar objects
Taking longer to complete normal daily tasks
Losing interest in normal daily activities or events
Hallucinating or experiencing delusions or paranoia
Not caring about other people’s feelings
Losing balance and problems with movement
People with intellectual and developmental disabilities can also develop dementia as they age, and recognizing their symptoms can be particularly difficult. It’s important to consider a person’s current abilities and to monitor for changes over time that could signal dementia.