Dementia is perhaps one of the most difficult and worrisome conditions that affect older adults. Sometimes family caregivers aren’t sure if what they are seeing in their older family member is normal or if it signals the onset of dementia. Although there are many different kinds of dementia that have their own specific symptoms, there are some common signs that can help you to determine whether your loved one should be evaluated for dementia.
Below are five common signs.
- Disruptive Memory Loss. Some memory loss is normal with age. However, the memory loss that occurs with dementia is more severe. Usually, it is noticed by other people and not the person experiencing the problem. It’s the kind of memory loss that makes aspects of daily life problematic, like remembering to go to important appointments. It can also cause the older adult to ask the same question over and over or repeat stories they just told.
- Trouble Following a Plan. If your aging relative used to be able to follow a recipe with ease, but now struggles to perform the steps, this could be a sign of dementia. People with dementia often have trouble following a plan, getting someplace using directions, or using the steps needed to pay bills.
- Confusing Times and Places. Lots of people temporarily forget what day of the week it is, then remember later. However, dementia can make an older adult completely lose track of time. They may be uncertain what season of the year it is or not understand that something isn’t happening immediately. They may also forget where they are or be uncertain of how they got there.
- Misplaced Items. Someone with dementia may misplace items they use every day, like their glasses or keys. They may put them in unusual places, like putting glasses in the freezer or keys in the cupboard. Losing items can be very frustrating. Sometimes older adults with dementia accuse others of stealing the items.
- Poor Judgement. Dementia can affect an older adult’s ability to make good decisions. As a result, they may give large sums of money to telemarketers, for example. They may also stop paying attention to personal hygiene.
If your aging relative is diagnosed with dementia, it can be helpful to begin using elderly care early on. This gives the care providers a chance to get to know the older adult and their likes and dislikes before dementia progresses too far. Senior care can start out with just a few hours per week and progress to greater levels of care as dementia worsens.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me directly or to your loved one’s health care provider.