Every year, millions of older adults are diagnosed with dementia. While it’s not an actual disease, it’s often a symptom of diseases like Alzheimer’s, and doctors often use it to describe general cognitive decline and memory loss. A dementia diagnosis can have a significant impact on your aging loved one’s life, but diagnosing it early is key to putting together a plan for delaying symptoms and creating a care plan for the future. If you think your parent might have dementia, keep an eye out for the following six signs.
1. Difficulty Communicating
Everyone is at a loss for words occasionally, but for an older person in the early stages of dementia, communication can be quite difficult. You may notice your loved one has difficulty coming up with simple words during a conversation and in describing an object or situation, even if it’s something he or she is familiar with. Alternatively, your loved one may have difficulty following a conversation or understanding what you’re talking about.
2. Difficulty Completing Simple Daily Tasks
Many older people have difficulty learning how to use their new smartphone or figuring out how to record a television program, but if your loved one suddenly develops issues with familiar tasks, it could be a sign of dementia. Perhaps your loved one forgot how to play a favorite game, cook a recipe he or she has made for years, or get to a store where he or she shops every week. You may also find your loved one repeating daily tasks like brushing his or her teeth, shaving, or washing a dish.
Seniors with dementia often find it difficult to perform their daily tasks. If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a Des Moines senior home care agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services.
3. Poor Decision Making
For most adults, some decisions come naturally. For example, wearing something warm when it’s cold outside or drinking a glass of water when you’re thirsty are just instincts. However, this is not always the case for people with dementia. You may notice your parent goes outside in freezing temperatures wearing shorts or doesn’t take a shower for an unusual amount of time.
4. Losing Thing
A person in the early stages of dementia may lose items like keys, phones, and shoes frequently. While many people lose everyday items, seniors with dementia aren’t sure how to go about finding them. They don’t think to retrace their path or check places where they spent time earlier in the day. They may also misplace items in odd ways, such as leaving their phone in the refrigerator or their keys in the bathtub.
5. Lack of Social Interest
Dementia can lead to a total lack of interest in social activities. You may find your loved one doesn’t spend time with friends and family as much as he or she once did or stops participating in favorite activities. Instead, he or she stays at home, sleeping or doing something mindless like watching TV for long periods.
Older adults with dementia may develop depression because of living in isolation. For families living in Des Moines, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.
6. Memory Loss
Memory loss is perhaps the most common sign of dementia. While we’re all forgetful from time to time, your parent may forget your name, an important date such as his or her own birthday, or tasks like walking the dog or taking medication. Forgetting to perform everyday tasks every once in a while may just be a part of the normal aging process, but forgetting these things regularly may be a sign of a bigger issue.
Older adults with dementia require professional assistance to slow the progression of the disease. There are many reasons seniors might need assistance at home. Some may require regular mental stimulation due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while others might only need part-time assistance with exercise and basic household tasks. Home Care Assistance is a leading Des Moines senior care provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life. If your loved one is living with dementia and wants to age in the comfort of home, call us at (515) 264-2438 today.