Friday, October 3, 2014

Warning Signs that Could Indicate Dementia

Dementia is not a single disease, but rather a collection of symptoms. These symptoms include decline in memory, thinking, and communication that impact daily living. Contrary to what some people believe, this is not a normal part of aging, and not all memory problems are the result of dementia. However, recognizing warning signs can help you to be more proactive in your senior’s health and seek necessary care. Here are some signs to be aware of:

Confused by the time and place. Those with dementia often have trouble recalling the day of the week, date, or time. They may not remember where they are or how they got there. In addition, they may not be aware of how much time has passed.

Trouble completing tasks. Problems with memory and thinking can make it more difficult to complete daily tasks. Usually the struggle appears first with more complex activities that require more planning or problem solving. It may take them much longer to do things or they may need multiple reminders or prompts. Following recipes or balancing their checkbook can become more difficult and they may make multiple errors.

Word finding difficulties. You may notice that your loved one has trouble coming up with familiar words for different items or does not use the correct word. Or they may lose their place in the middle of a conversation or repeat the same thing over again. Dementia can also make it more difficult to follow along in a conversation or story and recall what is happening.

Leaving things in unusual places. Have you found their glasses in the cabinet or the remote in the refrigerator? Trouble with memory can lead to misplacing items and having trouble retracing steps to find them. Your loved one may even accuse others of stealing if they are unable to find things.

Changing mood or personality. Dementia can affect judgment and behavior. The person may become more easily agitated or confused. They may withdraw from activities or act out of character. Confusion may lead them to become anxious or fearful of going out or engaging in different activities.

Short term memory problems. Memory loss often begins with trouble remembering things in the short term – what they ate for lunch or why they went to a certain place. They may have little trouble remembering things from years past, but difficulty recalling the past few days.

While not all memory, thinking, or communication problems are indicative of dementia, they are worth paying attention to. If you notice several signs or that your loved one seems to be struggling more than usual, it may be time to seek help. Early detection can help you to better support your loved one and take preventive or precautionary measures.

No comments:

Post a Comment