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Early Signs of Dementia: The Red Flags to Look Out For

early signs of dementia

When your loved one gets a little forgetful, you may think he is just getting older and less mentally sharp. But as time goes by, your loved one may show a variety of other symptoms related to dementia. This article will list a few red flags that could indicate their possible onset of the condition. Please keep in mind that not all cases of dementia are easy to identify, and it’s vital for you to be well-aware of and monitor your loved one’s behaviors so that you can act on this knowledge to get them help as soon as possible.

What Is Dementia?

Dementia is a progressive brain disorder that affects your loved one’s memory, thinking, judgment, and behavior. It’s the most common form of long-term brain condition among older adults. The causes of dementia are still unknown, but research indicates that it’s the brain’s gradual deterioration due to some factors such as genetics, lifestyle choices, and other medical conditions.

No one knows your parent’s personality and hobbies better than you. So if you witnessed that your aging parent exhibits some unusual behavior or experienced a feeling that something is off. There is a great chance that your parents are struggling with a disease.

Identifying significant dementia symptoms in older adults and recording the early stages of dementia can make a huge difference. Your observations could give helpful insight to physicians, which can be used for making a diagnosis.

The Early Signs Of Dementia

Here are the early signs and common symptoms of dementia to look out for: 

1. Memory loss

memory loss

It’s common for older adults to forget things as they age, but when your loved one seems to have a hard time remembering events, conversations, and faces. Then you should get him checked by a doctor. Memory loss is the most common early symptom of dementia. It’s usually mild to moderate and can affect one or more of the following areas:

  • Decline in short-term memory: Difficulty remembering events that happened recently, such as recent conversations, appointments, or what was eaten for breakfast. Sometimes they might forget where they’ve been or things they’ve said.
  • Decline in long-term memory: Difficulty remembering things that happened years ago, such as past school or work experiences, romantic relationships, and family members.

2. Poor Decision-making

When your loved one makes a lot of bad decisions, it may indicate that she is suffering a cognitive decline or some type of dementia. It usually means that she has trouble seeing the consequences of her actions or understanding the risks involved in a particular situation. One example is when your loved one buys something online, even though she can’t afford it. Or when he does not wear warm clothing, despite living in a cold climate.

3. Difficulty in Finding the Right Words

When your loved one is having a conversation with you, they may often use the wrong word for something. Additionally, your loved ones may repeat themselves several times because they can’t find the right word to express themselves.

4. Changes in Personality and Behavior

changes in personality

When your loved one suddenly becomes irritable, easily agitated, moody, or withdrawn, he might be showing signs of impaired thinking. Some people with dementia may become suspicious of others or paranoid. They may also become aggressive or abusive toward other people. Other symptoms include apathy, a lack of interest in things that used to be important to your loved one, and excessive sleeping or sleeplessness.

5. Inability to Perform Simple Tasks

If your loved one is having a difficult time doing familiar tasks, such as cooking, sending an email, or even paying bills. It’s time to show concern. Inability to perform daily tasks could mean that your loved one is suffering from the risk of dementia.

6. Less Concern With Appearance

When your loved one starts putting less effort into their appearance (clothes and hygiene), you should be concerned about his mental health. It can be a crucial sign that he is suffering from some form of dementia, which affects his ability to maintain self-care. If your parents resist help with personal care or appear oblivious to how they look, there might be an issue of concern.

7. Change in Sleeping Patterns

change in sleeping patterns

Your loved one may begin to sleep a lot more or a lot less than before. For example, they may sleep during the day and be awake at night or wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble going back to sleep.

8. Struggling to Adapt to Change

It is another sign of dementia. Your loved one may show an inability to cope with change. For example, seniors may have a hard time speaking with a stranger or making new friends.

If you notice some of these crucial signs in your parents, don’t just brush them off because they could be a sign of a severe illness. Instead, be gentle and take time to truly listen to your parent and let them know you are there for them. Seeking help is an option to take to confirm if your loved one has acquired the disease.

How to Get Help for Your Aging Parents’ Dementia Symptoms

  1. Consult A Doctor: Consulting a doctor should be the first step if you believe your loved one is suffering from dementia. Your parent may need to get a full physical examination, and some tests could be done to assess his condition.
  2. Exercise Compassion: When your loved one is diagnosed with dementia, you will have to learn how to live as your parent’s caregiver by having more patience and exercising more compassion toward them. You will also have to understand that even though it may seem like some of their actions are irrational; they are not being intentionally frustrating or mean-spirited. It’s just that their brains can no longer make sense of what they are doing or saying.
  3. Find Companion Support: If you are concerned with your parent’s welfare but are sometimes busy with work. It is better to find companionship support for your parent to take care of them 24/7. It will give you peace of mind to know that they are being taken care of when away from home. However, finding a reliable companion for your loved one may seem difficult, but it does not have to be. Wellness Home Care, a leading home care agency in Connecticut, can help you if you are looking for someone to care for your parent.

Ways You Can Help Your Loved One with Dementia

helping loved one with dementia

Dementia is a progressive disease that can cause anxiety in patients and caregivers. It is so common, but sadly it is not always easy for family members to cope with the symptoms. However, there are simple ways you can help your loved one with dementia to improve their quality of life:

  • Give Them Some Space – If your loved one is becoming agitated or restless because he cannot find a comfortable position, consider moving him to another room or putting him in a wheelchair. You can also provide some calming music that will allow him to relax and stay calm. Or take him outside to get fresh air and feel the sunshine on his face.
  • Allow Them to Have a Good Night’s Sleep – It is important for your loved one to get a good night’s sleep because sleep deprivation can be a common problem for people with dementia. If your loved one has been having trouble sleeping at night, you can schedule an earlier bedtime and try to maintain regular sleeping hours. You can also schedule a nap that lasts about 30 minutes or so during the day.
  • Provide Plenty of Activities – You can read or play games with your loved ones to keep them active and engaged in an activity during the day. This will help keep them mentally alert and prevent boredom, which contributes to mood swings, destructive behaviors, arguments, and even pacing around the house.
  • Be a Good Listener – Perhaps the most important thing you can do for your loved one with dementia is listening to them as they talk and remember what they say. It will make your loved ones feel like they are being understood and valued by others.

The Bottom line

As the population of people with dementia continues to grow, it is important for family members to be aware of early signs and symptoms. Although we have talked about some symptoms to look out for, it is always best to consult a professional who can accurately diagnose your loved one. The earlier a person with dementia is diagnosed, the sooner they can begin treatment which could delay or prevent further deterioration.

However, family obligations and work schedules can make it difficult for you to find the time to see a doctor about your parent’s dementia symptoms. So at this time, you may need to consider hiring someone to help with caregiving duties. Wellness Home Care is a leading home care agency in Connecticut that is licensed, insured, and certified to provide in-home care services to people of all ages. The agency has proven patient reviews and has been able to offer exceptional care for its clients. If you’re looking for a personal care assistant for your loved ones so they can maintain their quality of life, Wellness Home Care is a perfect choice. Call today at (860)667-2273 to learn more!