Lately, your elderly mom seems a little different. She’s always had a sweet personality, but last time you saw her, she snapped at you when you forgot to pick up her mail on the way in. The time before that, she seemed to have trouble remembering her grandchild’s name. Is this a normal part of aging, or should you be worried? Could these behaviors be signs of dementia?
What is Dementia?
Dementia isn’t a specific disease. It’s a blanket term for what the Mayo Clinic calls, “a group of symptoms affecting intellectual and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily functioning.” There are many types and stages of dementia, each with varying signs and effects on daily live. If the dementia is a kind that gets progressively worse, Alzheimer’s is the most likely cause.
What Symptoms Should I Watch Out For?
Common symptoms of dementia include:
- Difficulty remembering new information
- Trouble recalling information, such as events or peoples’ names
- Trouble finding the right words to communicate something
- Problems carrying out everyday tasks, such as following a recipe or finding an address
- Mood swings, such as bouts of depression or aggression
- Not keeping up with personal hygiene
- Hallucinations, paranoia, agitation, or inappropriate behavior
Should My Loved One See a Doctor?
Some symptoms of dementia, such as occasionally having trouble remembering someone’s name, are a normal occurrence in most individuals as they age. Some symptoms can be caused by other conditions such as depression or dehydration.
It’s important to make daily tasks easier for your loved one who is experiencing dementia and other memory loss in order to minimize stressors. In home dementia care assists individuals with daily tasks like personal care and meal planning in addition to providing a familiar face and social interaction on a daily basis.
If you have concerns about the changes you observe in a loved one, the best approach is to consult your primary care practitioner to rule out other causes and then meet with a neurologist who specializes in memory related disorders. The earlier dementia is treated, the more chance there is for your loved one to enjoy a higher quality of life over time.
How did you find out that your loved one had dementia? Share with us in the comments below!