Dementia symptoms gradually get worse over time. People can often find ways to cope with early symptoms, such as using lists, diaries or setting reminders. This means that problems are not always obvious to others straight away.

Dementia affects people in different ways. As symptoms get worse and become more noticeable, family and friends may start to recognise that someone is struggling. The symptoms below could be signs of dementia, particularly if they are new and appear to be getting worse over time.

  • Short-term memory loss, which might lead to someone becoming repetitive, forgetting recent events, or finding it difficult to learn anything new.
  • Changes in ability to think things through and solve problems.
  • Losing track of the date or time.
  • Struggling to find the right words when talking.
  • Difficulty understanding instructions.
  • Making mistakes in everyday tasks.
  • Becoming withdrawn and unmotivated.
  • Other changes to behaviour, personality, and mood.
  • Changes in vision, balance, and walking.
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The symptoms we list here may not apply to everyone. Dementia symptoms can be unique and individual to a person. What is important to remember is that if you notice symptoms are getting worse or are not normal behaviour, then it could be a sign that something is wrong.

If you are worried about any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor as soon as possible, who can investigate what is causing them.

If you have questions about dementia, or getting a diagnosis you can contact the Dementia Research Infoline on 0300 111 5111 or email

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Find out more about symptoms of dementia and how to get a diagnosis through your GP.

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This information was updated in August 2021 and is due to be reviewed in August 2023, it was written by Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Information Services team with input from lay and expert reviewers. Please get in touch if you’d like a version with references or in a different format.

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Dementia Research Infoline

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