Difficulties with memory are the most well-known first signs of dementia. For example, a person may not recall recent events or may keep losing items (such as keys and glasses) around the house. Memory loss is often the first and main symptom in early Alzheimer's disease.
Administration: The examiner reads a list of 5 words at a rate of one per second, giving the following instructions: “This is a memory test. I am going to read a list of words that you will have to remember now and later on. Listen carefully. When I am through, tell me as many words as you can remember.
The Mini-Cog test.
A third test, known as the Mini-Cog, takes 2 to 4 minutes to administer and involves asking patients to recall three words after drawing a picture of a clock. If a patient shows no difficulties recalling the words, it is inferred that he or she does not have dementia.
The five-minute cognitive test (FCT) was designed to capture deficits in five domains of cognitive abilities, including episodic memory, language fluency, time orientation, visuospatial function, and executive function.
The Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam, known as SAGE, is a brief, pen-and-paper cognitive assessment tool designed to detect the early signs of cognitive, memory, or thinking impairments. The test evaluates your thinking abilities. This can help your doctors understand how well your brain is functioning.
The main sign of mild cognitive impairment is a slight decline in mental abilities. Examples include: Memory loss: You may forget recent events or repeat the same questions and stories. You may occasionally forget the names of friends and family members or forget appointments or planned events.
The clock-drawing test is a quick way to screen for early dementia, including Alzheimer's disease. It involves drawing a clock on a piece of paper with numbers, clock hands, and a specific time. The inability to do so is a strong indication of mental decline.
The Four Word Short-Term Memory Test presents subjects with four words at the rate of one word per second and subjects are then asked to recall the words following a distractor interval of counting backwards by threes for 5, 15 or 30 s.
For most people with Alzheimer's — those who have the late-onset variety — symptoms first appear in their mid-60s or later. When the disease develops before age 65, it's considered early-onset Alzheimer's, which can begin as early as a person's 30s, although this is rare.
The MMSE is commonly used because it only takes 5 – 10 minutes and doctors or nurses don't need any equipment or special training. The test has 30 questions that are each worth 1 point. These questions test memory, orientation, and math skills.
Early-stage Alzheimer's (mild)
In the early stage of Alzheimer's, a person may function independently. He or she may still drive, work and be part of social activities. Despite this, the person may feel as if he or she is having memory lapses, such as forgetting familiar words or the location of everyday objects.
Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE)
This test is currently the most widely used cognitive assessment tool. It takes 10-15 minutes to administer. It is scored out of 30, with a score below 24 suggesting dementia. It is used to assess global cognitive status.
People who use post-it notes or electronic reminders are likely to be experiencing “normal” forgetfulness. On the other hand, people who don't remember what their reminders are there for, may be displaying symptoms of dementia. Transience is when the brain forgets some memories over time.
Many people affected by dementia are concerned that they may inherit or pass on dementia. The majority of dementia is not inherited by children and grandchildren. In rarer types of dementia there may be a strong genetic link, but these are only a tiny proportion of overall cases of dementia.
While dementia is a general term, Alzheimer's disease is a specific brain disease. It is marked by symptoms of dementia that gradually get worse over time. Alzheimer's disease first affects the part of the brain associated with learning, so early symptoms often include changes in memory, thinking and reasoning skills.
The Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam (SAGE) is a brief self-administered cognitive screening instrument used to identify mild cognitive impairment (MCI) from any cause and early dementia.
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is the stage between the expected decline in memory and thinking that happens with age and the more serious decline of dementia. MCI may include problems with memory, language or judgment. People with MCI may be aware that their memory or mental function has "slipped."
The average life expectancy figures for the most common types of dementia are as follows: Alzheimer's disease – around eight to 10 years. Life expectancy is less if the person is diagnosed in their 80s or 90s. A few people with Alzheimer's live for longer, sometimes for 15 or even 20 years.
Age. Age is the biggest risk factor for Alzheimer's, as it is for most types of dementia. This means that a person is more likely to get Alzheimer's as they get older. Above the age of 65, a person's risk of developing Alzheimer's doubles about every five years.
People with dementia might not want to do things they used to like. They may not talk as much as they used to, and they might be tense or nervous. They might be sad, cry easily, or have trouble sleeping and eating. As the dementia gets worse, more of these problems happen.
People in the early stages of dementia may understand their diagnosis and its implications. However, it is important to note that dementia affects every person differently and that symptoms vary between people. In the later stages of dementia, individuals may not be aware of their condition.