Signs of Dementia: The Red Flags to Look Out For
What Is Dementia?
Dementia is a progressive brain disorder that affects older adults’ memory, thinking skills, judgment, and their ability to carry out simple tasks. In most cases, the symptoms show up later in life, usually in the mid to late sixties.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia in older adults, according to the National Institute of health. It is not a normal part of aging, yet over a third of people over the age of 85 may have some form of Dementia.
Dementia manifests as the loss of cognitive function affecting the ability to think, reason, judge. A reduced attention span, and muddled communication with others are often clear signs of dementia.
There are many types of Dementia including vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia traumatic brain injury.
Signs and Symptoms of Dementia:
No one knows your loved one’s personality and hobbies better than you. If you witness some unusual behavior or experience a feeling that something is off, there is a good chance that your loved one is showing symptoms and should be address quickly.
Everyone’s aging process is different, and the signs may not be the same for every person.
Here are some common signs to look out for:
Difficulty in Finding the Right Words & Forgetfulness
When your loved one is having a conversation with you, they may often use the wrong word for something. Additionally, your loved ones may repeat themselves several times because they can’t find the right word to express themselves. Difficulty speaking, understanding and expressing themselves are likely symptoms of dementia.
Less Concern with Personal Appearance & Livelihood
Health & Grooming is a very visual sign. We can visually see that dad is no longer removing his facial hair or missing a few haircuts. Mom may be skipping her usual meticulous grooming or generally neglecting her appearance. If it looks out of character, it probably has an underlying cause, often dementia.
You may notice that they don’t care about how they look, often dressing in pajamas or bedclothes Mom no longer seems to wear her Sunday best or forget that it was Sunday.
Self-Care at this moment becomes less important and a difficult task.
Forgetting to make home mortgage payments, falling for various Scams more than once. These are serious things that can have severe financial consequences if left unsupervised to the point that your loved one could lose all the financial resources they saved up to help pay for their care in retirement.
Changes in Eating Habits & Weight Loss
A change that we all experience in our life is fluctuation in weight
However, this is a visual sign that we can notice in our loved ones’, often caused by a change in eating habits, such as neglecting meals, not eating their favorite foods, or having very little interest in food.
Your loved ones may start forgetting how to prepare their food and neglect their hydration, which can cause serious health issues like frequent UTI’s and dehydration. A care community would conduct monthly weigh-ins for their Residents and we have a 24-hour hydration station very convenient for the Residents to stay hydrated. This type of care provided by caregivers may not be available in your loved ones homes and can cause serious loss of weight.
Consult a doctor and establish a Good Support System
Even though it can be difficult to talk about, you should consult a physician. A professional can help formulate a plan during these challenging times. Take time to understand the changes that your loved one is now facing and seek the support you deserve. Family and friends can be a great resource of support as you navigate this changing situation.
We tend to lose ourselves in providing all the care our loved ones need. Remember that it is ok to have others’ help.
Take Action - Look for the Best Care for your loved one
If you notice that your loved ones’ behavior shows noticeable changes and they are displaying symptoms that are consistent with dementia, and the thought of their safety is starting to worry you, it may be time to take action.
It may well be time to consider moving your loved one into a care community. Their trained staff can help you better understand the situation and develop a personalized care plan that gives your loved one the best quality of life during this challenging time.
Your loved will be able to continue to see all their familiar physicians and all medical services would be made available while providing around the clock care, so you can enjoy visiting your loved one.
Start your search early and be sure that you ask the right questions when talking to a community. Ask to speak to the Executive Director of the community as sales people may not always have the answers you are seeking.
Ask if the community offers a Residential home care setting for seniors who have Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia.
Our Care Team can be a great source of help if your loved one shows signs of Alzheimer’s or other dementia s.
For more articles about caring for a person with Alzheimer’s related dementia, Memory Care and other dementia related topics, visit our blog www.evergreencottages.com/blog