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Senile Dementia Symptoms

Priya Johnson
Being aware of the different symptoms that can occur due to senile dementia, will help detect early signs of this condition in the elderly. Early detection will help slow down the pace of degeneration of the disease.
Senile dementia is not the same as senility in the elderly. The process of aging results in gradual deterioration of the brain cells, thereby conducing to progressive memory loss, lesser control on balance, fatigue, etc. However, when brain cells start degenerating they lead to a disease called senile dementia.
Over 10% people above the age of 65 show symptoms of some form of dementia, with about 15% in 1000 people in the United States being inflicted by it. There are different types of dementia plaguing people, however, irrespective of the type, this disease is a condition in which tissues of the brain are damaged and normal functioning is sabotaged.


Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of this condition. Some other causative factors are hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), multiple sclerosis, bacterial or viral encephalitis, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease (disorientation disease), chronic steroid abuse, chronic alcohol abuse, side effects to specific medications, etc.
Deficiencies of thiamine, niacin, vitamin B12, etc., can also result in senile dementia. However, dementia caused by these factors can be reversed by restoring the vitamin levels to normal. If chronic exposure to metals like mercury or lead have caused dementia, then, removal of these toxic agents can reverse the condition.


Precise identification of the problem is crucial for its treatment and cure. The symptoms in the early stages are different from the symptoms in severe cases. Let us take a look at them separately.
Early Symptoms
  • Memory Loss
  • Insomnia
  • Poor balance and disorientation
  • Poor physical coordination
  • Apathy
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Slight confusion
  • Social withdrawal
  • Loss of initiative
Symptoms in the Middle Stage
  • Poor ability to learn
  • Poorer judgment and cognitive abilities
  • Emotionally unstability
  • Increased confusion
  • Disrupting family member's sleep times
  • Need assistance to perform daily chores
  • Aggressiveness
Symptoms in the Severe Stages
  • Gradual weight loss
  • Loss of cognitive ability
  • Inability to walk
  • Neglecting personal hygiene
  • Involuntary urination or defecation
  • Inability to recognize family members
  • Wandering away without informing
  • Unable to bathe, eat, dress, and take care of one's self
  • Reacting violently
  • Hallucinating (auditory and visual)
  • Personality changes―may become suspicious or fearful
  • Communication problems
If you feel somebody you know has senile dementia and want to confirm your fears, then start by first checking the person's family history. Check if the family is genetically inclined to be inflicted by this disease.
Then, check to see if the person has communication problems along with problems like remembering people or events. Check his abilities to read, write, and do math. Is the person getting fidgety quickly and losing interest in the ongoing conversation?
If you feel your aging grandparent, parent, or an elderly family member shows some of the above mentioned symptoms, it is wise to seek medical attention as early as possible. This is because even though senile dementia is progressive and incurable, its pace can be slowed down by administering various medications.
Dementia patients need a lot of love and care. They need to be embraced and dealt with patiently. Sometimes things may get frustrating, however, don't get discouraged!
If your job or other personal commitments demand all your time, then, there are various professional in-home assistance services available for your help. By partnering with them you can help your loved one live independently at home itself!
Disclaimer: This story is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.