Dementia is a relatively common condition that affects nearly 3 million people per year. Dementia itself is not a specific disease, but rather a group of conditions that are characterized by impairment of at least two brain functions. These can include memory loss, impaired judgment, loss of social skills, and more. Treatment and medication can help, but unfortunately, there is no cure available at this time. Lakewood is a dedicated memory care facility that specializes in supporting residents with Dementia and Alzheimer’s. The experts at Lakewood know that early detection and support are key to maintaining your loved one’s quality of life. So here are some signs and symptoms that you should watch out for to know if your loved one might be getting Dementia.
Struggling to remember short-term items might be an early sign of Dementia. These changes are often subtle and might be deemed “senior forgetfulness” without a second thought, but you should be aware that if these changes become common and your loved one is forgetting more and more of their day, it could be a sign of more serious memory issues.
You might notice that your loved one struggles to find the right words more often than usual. For example, they may begin calling you the wrong name or seem to stumble when talking and trying to say what they mean. They also might struggle to express their feelings such as thirst, being cold, or feeling sleepy.
Dementia also affects the communication portion of our brains. A person with Dementia might struggle to find the right words or become repetitive both in the questions they ask and the actions they take. Your loved one might start repeating tasks such as shaving, eating, or asking the same question several times.
For someone who is in the early stages of memory challenges, change can cause fear. The person may lose their ability to understand and process change, and they may forget why the change has to take place. Your loved one might not remember why they had to move in with you or why he or she is at the grocery store, causing experiences to become scary. They may start to crave a consistent routine.
Experiencing changes in mood is also very common with Dementia, but it might not be super recognizable right off the bat. These changes can be positive or negative. Depression, for example, maybe an early sign of Dementia, but so is a personality shift from being shy and reactive to becoming more outgoing and joyful. Dementia affects each person differently, but be on the lookout for distinct personality and mood changes in your loved one.
If your loved one is showing two or more of the above signs of early Dementia, it might be time to consult a doctor. Normal forgetfulness does not automatically equal Dementia, but combined with other symptoms can be a reason to take a closer look. As a general rule of thumb, if you are concerned about your loved one’s well-being, we recommend that you see a doctor to ease your mind. Your doctor will likely refer you to a neurologist that can examine your loved one and give you a definitive treatment option for Dementia or another cognitive issue that could be occurring.
Dementia is a common condition that affects many seniors. Luckily, with early diagnosis and treatment options available, it is possible to slow the progression of the disease and maintain mental function for as long as possible. The staff at Lakewood Memory Care are highly trained and specialized in doing just that, and we would love to help you in any way that we can.
To learn more about residency or to schedule a tour of Lakewood, contact our friendly team today.