The holidays are a popular time that people notice something being “off” about their aging loved ones. It might be the added stress, the larger gatherings of people, or the greater number of tasks to complete.
Whatever the reason, it’s important to have a plan of action once you notice the signs. You don’t want to wait until a crisis to find the right assistance your loved one needs.
Warning Signs of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
First, let’s start with a few warning signs. Has your loved one experienced any of the following:
- Trouble remembering appointments
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty remembering names or people
- Losing and misplacing keys, purse/wallet, or other valuables
- Speaking and language problems
- Problems with regular household tasks, like cleaning and home repairs
- Difficulty or forgetful bathing habits
- Mood swings or drastic personality changes
- Withdrawal from family and friends
These signs come in many forms. Some chose to ignore the warning signs - perhaps not consciously. It can be tough to accept that your parent or grandparent can no longer take care of themselves, but ignoring the problem will only make it worse in the long run. You know them best, and in your gut, you can tell when something’s off.
Taking the Next Steps
So you’ve noticed something is wrong with your loved one. What do you do next?
The first step is to see a doctor. As Agingcare.com reports, “Doctors have identified other conditions that can cause dementia or dementia-like symptoms,” and a professional will be the one to decide if what your loved one is experiencing is a symptom of dementia or a reaction to something else.
The doctor will give your loved one a physical and mental health evaluation to reach the proper diagnosis. This might include a blood or urine test and assessments to measure memory, thinking skills, problem-solving, counting, and language skills. In some cases, a CAT scan, CT scan, or MRI might be helpful in the diagnosis.
Once determining a diagnosis, the doctor can start your family member on a treatment plan. This might include medication to slow the disease, though there is no cure to completely stop or reverse the brain damage caused by most forms of dementia. Treatment will, however, drastically improve your loved one’s quality of life.
There are many other forms of treatments that you can do at home, with a caregiver, or with a therapist, such as modifying the environment to be simpler and easy to navigate and understand. Encouraging daily activities such as exercise, communication, activities, and keeping to a routine are also very helpful. This is also why assisted living and memory care options are popular among dementia patients.
Memory care options like our program at Brightondale Senior Campus provide around-the-clock care and access to tons of great amenities. We also have different options, depending on your loved one’s lifestyle.
Learn more about Brightondale Senior Campus here.