Not all of these features will be present in every person, nor will every person go through every stage and phase of dementia Slow, insidious onset, Impaired long- and short-term memory, Deterioration of cognitive abilities judgment, abstract thinking, Often irreversible if untreated, Personality changes, No or slow EEG changes.

Early dementia

  • Appear more apathetic, with less sparkle.
  • Lose interest in hobbies or activities.
  • Be unwilling to try new things.
  • Be unable to adapt to change.
  • Show poor judgement and make poor decisions.
  • Be slower to grasp complex ideas and take longer with routine jobs.
  • Blame others for ‘stealing’ lost items.
  • Become more self-centred and less concerned with others and their feelings.
  • Become more forgetful of details of recent events.
  • Be more likely to repeat themselves or lose the thread of their conversation.
  • Be more irritable or upset if they fail at something.
  • Have difficulty handling money.

Moderate dementia

  • Be very forgetful of recent events. Memory for the distant past seems better, but some details may be forgotten or confused.
  • Be confused regarding time and place.
  • Become lost if away from familiar surroundings.
  • Forget names of family or friends, or confuse one family member with another.
  • Forget saucepans and kettles on the stove. May leave gas unlit.
  • Wander around streets, perhaps at night, sometimes becoming lost.
  • Behave inappropriately – for example, going outdoors in their nightwear.
  • See or hear things that are not there.
  • Become very repetitive.
  • Be neglectful of hygiene or eating.
  • Become angry, upset or distressed through frustration.

Severe dementia

  • Be unable to remember – for even a few minutes – that they have had, for example, a meal.
  • Lose their ability to understand or use speech.
  • Be incontinent.
  • Show no recognition of friends and family.
  • Need help with eating, washing, bathing, using the toilet or dressing.
  • Fail to recognise everyday objects.
  • Be disturbed at night.
  • Be restless, perhaps looking for a long dead relative.
  • Be aggressive, especially when feeling threatened or closed in.
  • Have difficulty walking, eventually perhaps becoming confined to a wheelchair.
  • Have uncontrolled movements.