We’re all learning the frightening statistics on developing dementia, especially Alzheimer’s. Once we reach that 65th birthday, our chances of becoming one of those statistics begin to rise. Perhaps you or a loved one is experiencing some memory related problems. Here are some things to look for in order to get a better Understanding of Dementia.
Changes in personality and behavior can be warning signs of dementia. Someone who is usually very neat and clean might become negligent of his or her hygiene. They may experience sharp mood swings and easily become agitated. Those who usually have good instincts about people might suddenly fall victim to telemarketers, or suspicious of friends and loved ones.
Language becomes a problem with those experiences dementia. They might have trouble finding a simple word, and withdraw from having to talk. Sometimes their language becomes confusing and jumbled.
One of the early signs of dementia is when someone gets lost in a place they are very familiar with. Perhaps they lose their way from the corner market, or forget how to get to church. They also might lose things around the house, only to find that they’ve put those items in strange places. For example, you might find they’ve put their keys in the medicine cabinet, or the cereal under the sink.
We all have lapses in memory from time to time. Those with dementia will be able to remember things from their youth much easier than what happened a little while ago. They’ll forget whole conversations, and won’t be able to retrieve them. They also might repeat a story over and over again, often word-for-word.
Money problems also might come up. If your loved one is usually good with their money and keeping their bill paid, and suddenly are having trouble, it’s a major warning sign.
Be aware that all these symptoms can be due to other factors such as a recent personal loss, or tragedy. A hospitalization may be traumatic enough for anyone to become confused for a time. Medications and strokes can also cause these types of symptoms, so don’t panic. Get organized and make an appointment with your loved one’s primary care physician. Know their medications; write down the symptoms you’ve witnessed, any life style changes, such as a move, or lack of appetite and how much alcohol they consume.
Try not to argue, or insist that your loved one remember something. It will only make the situation worse. Try to stay calm and pleasant around your loved one. Check on them often and get them in to be evaluated. Ignoring this problem will likely lead to a crisis in your loved one and have you scrambling to get them the help they need. Knowledge is the key and having knowledgeable experts on the case can be a lifesaver.
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About The Author: Karen Everett Watson is a Gerontologist and has over 10 years experience as a Journalist. Karen has spent 4 years in the senior community interviewing retirement community residents.
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