In the early stage, persons with dementia may experience some combination of symptoms including mild forgetfulness, difficulty navigating in the community and following fast-paced discussions. The changes are subtle at first but over time, the individual or those around them begin to notice these changes occurring more frequently. Eliminating background noise is but one environmental strategy that may be effective with person’s in the early stage of the disease.
Frank is a regular participant in virtual programs. He loves art, and really likes to talk about it too. He has great insights into the artworks we look at and tells the occasional joke too. With Frank, we don‘t see a lot of evidence of changes in his abilities. Occasionally we have seen a slight delay in his ability to formulate comments and may make comments about his own perceived changes in abilities. Little adaptation is required most of the time, other than leaving a bit more time for him to process his thoughts. Frank is in the early stage of dementia. It can be easy to forget that Frank might benefit from some supportive adjustments.
With participants like Frank, we must watch closely as it is easy to overestimate their abilities and not modify the program to suit their needs. Throughout the program, we monitor our observations so that we continue to offer the right amount of support and challenge.