We’ve explored Dementia many times. It’s a disease that is rising at an alarming rate. To make matters worse, future numbers of how many people will be affected are downright scary.
That begs to aks. How can we spot early indicators that our loved one may have Alzheimer’s or dementia?
I found this insightful article by Patrick J. Kiger who wrote this for AARP.
From age 50 on, it’s not unusual to have occasional trouble finding the right word or remembering where you put things.
But persistent difficulty with memory, cognition and ability to perform everyday tasks might be signs that something more serious is happening to a loved one’s brain.
A loved one showing symptoms of dementia needs to see a medical expert who can conduct tests and come up with a diagnosis. If a loved one has dementia, you’ll want to plan how you will manage that care, especially as the condition progresses.
Below is a list of 7 things to watch out for.
Difficulty With Everyday Tasks…
Everyone makes mistakes, but people with dementia may find it increasingly difficult to do things like keep track of monthly bills or follow a recipe while cooking, the Alzheimer’s Association says. They also may find it hard to concentrate on tasks, take much longer to do them or have trouble finishing them.
Asking a question over and over or telling the same story about a recent event multiple times are common indicators of mild or moderate Alzheimer’s, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Observe if a loved one has trouble joining in conversations or following along with them, stops abruptly in the middle of a thought or struggles to think of words or the name of objects.
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People with dementia may have difficulty with visual and spatial abilities. That can manifest itself in problems like getting lost while driving, according to the Mayo Clinic.
A loved one who begins acting unusually anxious, confused, fearful or suspicious; becomes upset easily; or loses interest in activities and seems depressed is cause for concern.
Confusion About Time and Place…
Loved ones who forget where they are or can’t remember how they got there should raise alarms. Another worrisome sign is disorientation about time – for example, routinely forgetting what day of the week it is, says Jason Karlawish, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine and co-director of the Penn Memory Center.
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If your family member seems to have increasingly poor judgment when handling money or neglects grooming and cleanliness, pay attention.
Some people who experience memory loss or have difficulty with attention, decision-making language or reasoning may have a condition known as mild cognitive impairment. The condition causes a noticeable decline, but the changes are less severe than with dementia and a person can still perform normal daily activities, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
People with mild cognitive impairment are at an increased risk of developing dementia.
When your loved one is displaying troubling symptoms, a trip to a primary care physician is often the first step. But to get a definitive diagnosis, you’ll need to see a specialist such as a neurologist, geriatrician or geriatric psychiatrist.
If you can’t find one, the National Institute on Aging recommends contacting the neurology department of a nearby medical school. Some hospitals also have clinics that focus on dementia.
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