Is your loved one showing symptoms of dementia?
Forgetfulness can be a normal part of the aging process. However, dementia should not be a normal part of the aging process. Individuals typically begin to experience slight changes in their cognitive abilities over time, including increased forgetfulness or memory loss. While dementia does include the loss of cognitive functioning, people with dementia may also have problems with language skills, visual perception or paying attention.
Aging adults may experience a modest decline in spontaneous word finding — taking longer to get words out. Whereas people showing signs of dementia may forget several words at a time or substitute unusual words, making it difficult to understand speech or writing. While it’s normal for multitasking to become harder, or for complex tasks to take more time, for those with dementia, it may be too difficult to plan or complete their daily tasks.
The speed with which information is processed gradually slows down with age, so a delay in recalling names, dates or events that happened in the past is most likely due to normal aging. Rather than this expected delay, individuals showing early signs of cognitive deficits may be unable to recall more recent details of an event or even their immediate surroundings. Causes for concern include frequently misplacing objects, not knowing the name of objects, forgetting names and places without recall, having difficulty using the right words or becoming lost in familiar surroundings.
It can often be difficult for those experiencing memory issues to recognize their problems while others around them are concerned about the changes – whereas an older adult experiencing normal “senior moments” is aware of their own lack of recall. Most memory issues develop gradually, worsening over time, so if a sudden change in memory occurs, it could be related to another medical condition which may need immediate attention.
Caregivers can watch for signs of the following, which could be early indicators of dementia:
- Problems taking care of monthly bills and managing finances
- Losing track of the date or time of year
- Changes in personality
- Trouble making conversation
- Lack of interest in friends or activities
- Misplacing things often without being able to find them
If your loved one is showing several of the above signs, it’s time to consult a physician for further evaluation. At The Palms at Plantation, we’ll work with your family to determine if dementia care is the best option for your loved one to experience a healthier, more fulfilling lifestyle and less stress and worry for you.