Nobody else is as familiar with your senior loved ones' personalities, interests, or peculiarities as you are. Therefore, if you observe strange behavior — or have a persistent sense that something is wrong — there is a good possibility that it is. Alzheimer's disease and other kinds of dementia are well-known risk factors for aging. Indeed, the risk of acquiring Alzheimer's disease in adults 65 and older doubles every five years.
Acquiring the ability to recognize major dementia symptoms in elders and documenting the disease's early stages can make a significant difference. Your observations may provide valuable insight to doctors, resulting in a more rapid and accurate diagnosis. Learn how to monitor eight dementia behaviors and how to obtain a diagnosis and treatment.
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While dementia symptoms differ among elders, here are eight critical warning signals to watch out for.
It is natural for older adults to experience lapses in memory on occasion. However, exhibiting indicators of forgetfulness on a daily basis is a warning sign of dementia.
If your mother frequently loses track of her thoughts mid-sentence, or if your father struggles to find the right words in casual discussions, these are indicators of dementia to watch out for.
If your mother's favorite activity is cooking, but she is having difficulty using a new gadget or following a new recipe, dementia may be to blame. Notify your parents if you notice them avoiding new activities or having difficulty grasping a new topic.
Do you notice your father failing to manage his expenses or taxes properly? Is your mother having difficulty balancing her checkbook? Keep an eye out for bills building up or other problem-solving abilities deteriorating, as these are also frequent symptoms of dementia.
If your elderly loved one continues to lose track of the day, month, year, holidays, and other significant occasions, this is cause for concern. Take note of what they forget and how frequently they forget.
Have you seen any unusual actions or circumstances? For instance, has your mother spent more money than usual? Has your father ceased to wear his seat belt? If you observe any harmful conduct or unsafe habits, make a note of it and speak with your senior loved one's doctor.
Persistent memory loss is a starting point to dementia. Everyone forgets things occasionally, but if it happens frequently, keep track of when and how very often it occurs.
Is your loved one no longer interested in or pursuing their favorite hobbies? Did your mother ever read or garden daily but has since refused to do so? Take note of unusual behavior, particularly if it does not appear to be tied to a physical health concern.
Have you ever seen your senior loved ones repeating themselves verbally? It might be as simple as repeating a compliment, such as, "I absolutely adore those photo frames you gave me."
If your parent frequently repeats questions, thoughts, stories, or jokes, make a note of the recurrence.
Utilize your phone or a journal to keep track of dementia symptoms. It is critical to provide concrete instances to your doctor.
If you're concerned about upsetting a loved one, submit your observations in writing to their physician. Keep in mind that you do not need HIPAA authorization to discuss issues with a senior loved one's health professional.
Check out these tips on how to deal with your irrational elderly patients by Senior Strong.
William Rivers is an editor with a master’s degree in Human Services Counseling at Maine State University. He has more than 20 years of experience working in the senior healthcare industry.