In the US, we get 7.7 million new cases of dementia every year.
What is dementia? It’s a condition that affects a person’s cognitive functioning. While it’s very common in the elderly, it’s actually not a natural part of aging.
Because of this, it’s very important to keep an eye out for dementia in the elderly, as it can severely impact their safety and quality of life.
If you want to learn more, then keep reading. In this article, we’ll discuss the early warning signs of dementia. That way, you can help your loved one out as best as you can.
Short-Term Memory Loss
As we age, it’s only natural that our bodies don’t serve us as well as they used to. That includes our brain; it might be tougher to recall things.
However, the key difference between normal aging and dementia is that with the latter, the affected person can’t recall things later on. They might have issues remembering things they recently learned, such as appointments they’ve made, things they’ve left in a room, or items bought at the grocery store in the morning.
It’s important to note that memory loss is usually limited to the short-term type. Those with dementia typically still have their long-term memory intact.
Difficulties With Speech
When it comes to obvious dementia signs, difficulties with speech is one to keep an eye out for. Your loved one might have a challenging time communicating their thoughts with you, and it seems like they just can’t find the right words.
As a result, a conversation might be slow goings. There might be frequent pauses and the substitution of similar-sounding words for the ones they’re looking for.
Because they have short-term memory loss, your parent might end up repeating themselves quite often. They’ll keep asking you the same questions or doing a task repeatedly.
You’ll know right away if your loved one has early dementia when you have a conversation with them. Not only will they struggle with speech, but they’ll keep asking about or commenting on the same things. There may be some periods of clarity, but if your senior seems to have forgotten something you just told them minutes ago, that’s a big red flag.
Difficulties With Writing
The challenges with speech will also translate to writing.
You might notice that your loved one’s writing is becoming difficult to read. And if they had impeccable spelling and grammar before, it’s likely you’ll see many errors if they’re in the early stages of dementia.
Trouble With Daily Tasks
Has your parent forgotten how to do simple daily tasks they’re used to? Then this is a huge warning flag for dementia.
Closely monitor your loved one to see if they’re taking care of themselves alright. Are they able to cook for themselves, shower, do laundry, clean the house, etc?
If you notice a lapse in cleanliness or self-care, they might be in the early stages of dementia.
We all misplace things in obvious places, only to find them soon after. Having a busy lifestyle and just aging will put us in this position many times, so this is only normal.
But if your senior seems significantly confused, it can be because of dementia. They might not remember where they are, how they got there, or what day it is. In later stages of dementia, they might not even recognize their family and friends.
Trouble With Spatial Awareness
Dementia causes changes in the brain, which can affect how a person handles spatial awareness. It can also affect their sense of direction.
For this reason, your loved one might be clumsier than usual. They might also get lost when trying to go to and from places, regardless of whether or not they’ve been there before. Even if you write out step-by-step instructions for your senior to go somewhere, they still might get lost just because their sense of direction is compromised.
Changes in Their Mood and Personality
Many people become depressed in the early stages of dementia. Typically, the changes in mood and personality will be fast and even jarring to witness.
Seniors who were once happy and joyful might suddenly become irritated, anxious, and fearful. In some cases, they might even act inappropriately.
Many seniors with dementia also become apathetic. They might isolate themselves and stop doing social activities. They’ll also cease doing their hobbies and become listless.
There’s the possibility that these changes in mood and personality are due to medications. So speak with your loved one’s doctor to rule that out first.
Difficulty With Change
It can be tough dealing with all the scary changes that dementia can bring. Suddenly, familiar things become strange to them and they just can’t hold onto thoughts and memories.
Having early dementia can be a stressful and frightening thing. As a result, your parent might stubbornly cling to routine, being highly resistant to any changes you might want to make.
Know the Early Warning Signs of Dementia
Now that you know what the early warning signs of dementia are, you’ll be able to spot them in your elderly parents or relatives.
While the early stages of dementia are somewhat manageable, there comes a time where your loved one will need round-the-clock care. If you don’t want to put them in a home, consider becoming their caregiver through CDPAP. You’ll be financially compensated to ensure some security.
This situation ends up being optimal for many families because you can look after the elderly with signs of dementia without having to financially suffer.
So if you’d like to be the primary caretaker of your loved one, then check your CDPAP eligibility now!