As we get older, we sometimes don’t exhibit the clarity of thought we once had. We may find ourselves losing our train of thought, misplacing our glasses, or forgetting names more often.
Noticing this and dwelling upon it can make you think that perhaps you are developing dementia. Take heart – you’re not alone. It’s a fear that many aging adults have.
It’s more noticeable, perhaps, when you see these changes happening with an older loved one in your life. Cognitive changes can happen slowly or quickly, and it’s imperative that you look for the early warning signs of dementia for the health and safety of your loved one.
Early Warning Signs of Dementia to Look For
How do you know if a senior is beginning to develop dementia or just feeling the natural effects of aging? Medical tests can be performed to diagnose this illness, but there are also early warning signs you can look for during your regular interactions with your loved one. Here are eight of them:
- Memory problems, particularly remembering recent events. Your mom or dad can probably recall many of the names and faces of friends and family they knew long ago, but they may become increasingly unable to recall events of a day or a week ago. This is usually one of the first warning signs you’ll notice.
- Difficulty performing familiar tasks. As someone develops dementia, everyday tasks can become increasingly difficult. For example, you might notice them having difficulty tying their shoelaces, opening their mail, or using the television’s remote.
- Problems with language. You’ll often see an older adult with early-onset dementia have trouble expressing their thoughts and getting the right words out. Their speech may not necessarily be slurred, but it’s often slow or halting, which can be very frustrating for them.
- Disorientation in time and space. Have you ever woken up when you were traveling and not known where you were? Many seniors experience this regularly, as well as struggling to get their bearings when they’re out of their homes.
- Impaired judgment. Early indicators of dementia include erratic behavior fueled by a lack of sound judgment. Of course, everyone makes mistakes in judgment, but someone exhibiting early warning signs of dementia often does this increasingly, sometimes with very harmful results.
- Misplacing items. This can be a tough one to catch because we all can’t find things occasionally. But, someone with dementia often does this frequently, like misplacing their glasses 3-4 times a day.
- Apathy and withdrawal or depression. Not only may you be noticing some of these early warning signs, but so can the person they’re happening to. This can lead to increased feelings of melancholy, which can develop into clinically diagnosed depression.
- Personality or behavior changes. It can be a red flag when a senior who has been calm and relaxed their entire life becomes increasingly agitated or angry. Changes in the brain often are accompanied by outward changes in personality or behavior.
If you’re concerned about seeing some of these signs, take the next step and talk to their doctor. Only a qualified healthcare provider, after multiple tests and assessments, can confirm if someone has dementia.
We Can Help With Dementia Care
The staff and CAREGivers at Home Instead of Southwest Florida are trained and experienced with assisting those needing dementia or Alzheimer’s care. Call us or fill out our form to learn more about our services. We would be honored to serve your family.