Signs that your Loved One may Have Dementia
The early signs of dementia are subtle. As a caregiver who interacts with your loved one most often, you are likely to notice these changes first. However, it can be quite difficult to distinguish the normal changes associated with the aging process from the rather vague early signs of dementia.
HOW TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE
Occasionally forgetting things is a normal part of life at any age. With the hectic pace of our daily lives, many of us rely on smartphone calendars, reminders, and online scheduling platforms. As our loved ones age, they are likely to experience a normal increase in memory loss. These occurrences may include:
- Missing the occasional appointment
- Forgetting the right word to use
- Struggling to recall something but it comes back later
- Losing things occasionally
In comparison, loved ones who are suffering from dementia develop more serious issues of memory loss that may include:
- Losing track of what day or year it is
- Struggling with conversations
- Experiencing difficulty managing monthly bills
- Misplacing things and being unable to find them
EARLY SIGNS TO WATCH OUT FOR
If your loved one is demonstrating some of the behaviors listed above, it’s time to take a closer look. Watch out for these symptoms:
- Forgetting names of people they are close to
- Failing to recognize close friends or family members
- Telling the same story over and over again
- Repeatedly asking the same questions
- Unable to recall conversations or experiences
- Purchasing unnecessary items or multiples of the same item
- Getting lost when traveling to routine places, such as the doctor’s office, favorite store, or their place of worship
If you notice any of these occurrences happening with regularity, it’s time to schedule an appointment with the doctor. There are diseases and other medical issues that mimic dementia. Physicians are trained to rule out these other possible causes.
MEDICAL ISSUES THAT MIMIC DEMENTIA
There are many medical issues that can be successfully treated to reverse the cognitive effects that your loved one has been experiencing.
- Thyroid Disease – Your thyroid is responsible for manufacturing hormones to keep all of your body systems healthy. Thyroid disease develops gradually so its cognitive effects do also, much like dementia. Your doctor can order a blood test to find out.
- Heart and Lung Disease – Your brain requires both nutrients and oxygen. When your heart or lungs are not functioning normally, your brain is not getting what it needs. This can affect memory and level of alertness.
- Cancer – Brain tissue can be affected by various types of cancer. Chemicals can be produced that affect proper brain function, and there can be an increase in intracranial pressure.
- Diabetes – Unregulated diabetes can cause too much or too little blood sugar in your body. This leads to poor functioning of your blood vessels that causes memory loss, concentration issues, and confusion.
- Liver and Kidney Disease – When these organs aren’t working properly, toxic waste builds up in your system. This negatively affects your cognitive function.
- Vision and Hearing Deficits – It’s important to have annual eye and hearing exams, especially as we get older. When your loved one can’t see or hear properly, they appear confused, even disoriented.
- Alcoholism – Excessive drinking impairs memory, decision-making, and equilibrium. Oftentimes, a person suffering from an alcohol addiction does not have a healthy diet and is suffering from a vitamin deficiency that causes confusion and mood swings.
- Depression – Many people suffering from depression experience a host of cognitive difficulties. They are also likely not eating well and could be suffering from vitamin deficiencies as well.
- Medication Side Effects – Our body’s filtering system isn’t as efficient as we age, and seniors often require a host of medications to control various health issues. Blood levels of medication can be too high. There is always the potential for side effects or negative interaction between prescription medications. All of this can lead to cognitive decline.
WHAT IF IT IS DEMENTIA?
Receiving a dementia diagnosis can be equally daunting for both your loved one and for you. Here at Park Central, we offer a safe, comfortable, engaging senior living environment for those in all stages of dementia. Your loved one will receive tender loving care from nursing staff who receive intensive training that qualifies them as experts in their field.
Our residents receive more individualized care than traditional senior living with our low resident-to-nursing staff ratio and a nurse-call system that is customized to your loved ones’ individual needs.
We believe that senior living centers should be devoted to providing individualized care for all stages of life in a home-like environment. Residents suffering from dementia can enjoy all the comforts of home while receiving active rehabilitation.
Contact us today to discuss what is best for your loved one at this time of their life.