Skip to main content

Early-Stage Dementia

This stage marks the beginning of the dementia journey with increased memory loss, confusion and often, frustration.

“It’s so emotional, and putting up with what’s changing in me, it made it hard for her, and things didn’t work out,” he explains.

“I try to tell the stage one folks that you need to tell your partner, ‘I’m sorry. I love you, but I won’t be able to say that at one point in time, and I’m sorry for that.” -Interview with Bob Yetz, KRNV Reno

You may be wondering…

  • Are there any medications, treatments or lifestyle changes that could help my loved one’s memory and thinking?
  • How can we help our loved one remain active and stay connected?
  • Should my loved one still be driving?
  • Is our legal paperwork in order?

What should you expect at this stage?

Your loved one has difficulty accomplishing some activities. They may also:

  • Have trouble with time or sequence of events.
  • Forget names of familiar people and things.
  • Have decreased performance in work or social situations.
  • Have trouble multi-tasking.
  • Take more time to process information.
  • Write reminders and lose them.
  • Have increased preferences for familiar things.
  • Have mild mood and/or personality changes.
  • Feel sorrow, suspicion, anger, frustration.
  • Show increasing indifference to normal courtesies of life.
  • Have more trouble driving safely.

At the same time, it may be evident that your loved one has some types of memory that continue to work quite well: they are likely remember stories from long ago, and remember how to do things that they are familiar with (like playing an instrument). You may also notice that they may be able to focus more on the present moment, enjoy a sense of humor, and have an expanded ability to be creative.

You may:

  • Feel optimistic and/or you may experience an early sense of loss and grief.
  • Notice that you are providing more reminders and supervision.
  • Want to ask for help around the home like housekeeping, errands, laundry, or yard care.
  • Be impressed by your loved ones ability to adapt and grow, in the midst of challenges.

More Information

Mid-Stage | Late Stage | Checklist |Communication Tips