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5 Early Signs Of Dementia and What You Can Do to Help




Do You Know Someone Who is Showing Signs of Dementia?

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Do you know someone that is starting to show some subtle signs of dementia? It can happen at any age, but most noticeably after 60’s and 70’s you may see some signs that concern you. Has a family member who regularly washes the bed sheets forgot how to turn the washer on? Or have they drove to the grocery store and forgot how to come back home? Have you noticed that a family member is now saying and doing things that are very uncharacteristic of them? All of these are examples of what you may have observed and seriously concerned about in someone you know.

 

Here is a startling fact from the  National Institute on Aging, up to half of the people older than 85 years will have some form of dementia.  It is important for everyone to know that dementia is not a normal part of aging. Many people will live into their senior years without signs of dementia.


Here are some of the 5 common early signs of dementia. Bonus tips at the end for you to learn and apply when caring for someone experiencing these signs.

 

1. Confusion

Do you know someone that is showing increased signs of confusion? Maybe they forgot what they were doing, or they started a project but wont be able to finish it because they forgot what they were doing. Perhaps they lost their keys, unable to focus, pay attention or remember details. With dementia you will see more of an inability to focus and pay attention or remember details.

 

2. Short Term Memory Loss

You may know someone that  is showing signs of short term memory loss. Perhaps, they couldn’t recall if they took their medications today or had breakfast at all. They may have forgotten to go to an appointment they booked. They may have left something on the stove and forgot to turn it off. However, the long term memory is usually intact and they would be able to recall events that happened many years ago.

Other things you might notice are:

– Items are frequently misplaced

– Forgetting what they had planned to do that day - Leaving the stove on or fridge open


3. Change in Reasoning Skills and Judgement/ Behavior

Have you noticed that someone is now behaving differently then they did before. Are they saying and doing things that are out of character of who they are. Some people may say inappropriate comments or touch. An early sign of dementia that is often missed is a change in reasoning and appropriate behavior. It can seem like your loved one no longer has a filter and will say whatever comes to mind. Some people may start to neglect their health, and not shower, not eat, forget all about the importance of taking their medications. They may not see the need to have the house cleaned, garbage removed, pets taken care of. These are usually the common reasons why family members feel they need help with their loved ones.

 

4.       Having Trouble Communicating

Unfortunately, dementia has a damaging affect on the brains structures, and as atrophy sets in the brain, it can begin to erode the areas of the brain that are responsible for communication. Have you noticed that someone you know is having a hard time finding certain words, or they may start a story but be unable to finish it. They may also forget someone's name that they know fairly well. This loss of effective communication can be very frustrating for both you and your loved one.

 

5.       Language Difficulty

In addition to trouble communicating, they may also exhibit signs of loss of understanding of what you are saying. They may also not be able to understand what they are saying to you as well. They may shy away from reading as it is too difficult now. Or watching a TV show or movie they aren’t able to fully understand the story line or tell you about what they just watched.

 

 

What Can You Do If You See Early Signs of Dementia


It is important to get them help when you notice these signs. It should be brought up to their GP that you have noticed these signs so that early treatment and strategies to reduce the progression of dementia is initiated on the onset.


There are many different forms of dementia and possible treatments available. The best thing to do is to make a list of the signs and symptoms that you have noticed, particularly changes over the last year or two. If you see 2 or more of the signs that we mentioned related to dementia, then it is time to see a medical professional. Recognizing the early signs of dementia can help you prepare for your loved one’s safety and care.


Below are some tips that can help:


-       When dealing with people with early signs of dementia, it is always a good idea to become familiar with the latest literature on the topic of the illness so that you can inform yourself when dealing with dementia in others.

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-       Creating a routine and plan together and reviewing it each morning and through out the day. A schedule for the day is easy to follow and keep them on track to prevent confusion and frustration.

-       Speak slowly and clearly. Speak deeper but not louder. Don’t spew too many different ideas at once. Share one idea at a time.

-       If something is upsetting them that they see or hear in the news or TV, suggests turning it off and doing something else together like going for a walk or listening to music. Distraction is actually a good thing in this scenario.

-       People with dementia are aware of our emotions still, it is important to always remember to stay calm and talk with gentleness and kindness in our tone of voice. Tell them that it is okay if they don’t remember.

-       If they are unable to tell you what it is they want or need, suggest them writing it down if they are able to.

-       Remember to take time for yourself. You don’t need to always fuss about your loved one. Ask for help when you are feeling overwhelmed.

-       Be realistic in setting goals with them. Realize that they may not be able to do what they initially set out to do. Help them as needed without completely taking away the entire responsibility from them. For example, they may need you to help guide them to complete breakfast. You want to preserve their dignity and encourage as much independence as possible.  


To learn more, call us to speak to a nurse about how we can help at 778- 539 - 5300 Modern Day Home Health Care

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