An estimated one in 10 adults over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia. Without proper dementia care, this devastating condition can profoundly affect health and well-being.
Because dementia typically has a slow onset, it can be difficult to determine whether the signs you’re seeing in yourself or a loved one are part of the normal aging process or are a more significant change. Because of this, it’s important to learn about the warning signs of dementia, as well as what you can do to prevent the condition and provide care.
The Symptoms of Dementia
Everyone with dementia will show different symptoms, especially early on. Many people without dementia may have some of these symptoms due to stress or normal aging. However, elderly caregivers should keep an eye open for the following:
Everyone forgets things sometimes. People’s lives are busy, and a certain degree of forgetfulness is a common part of the aging process.
However, dementia’s forgetfulness goes above and beyond the usual. If you or a loved one are having trouble remembering things you used to know, or you aren’t able to perform tasks you used to due to changes in your memory, you may be experiencing one of the earliest warning signs of dementia.
Confusion is the mirror image of dementia’s forgetfulness. You may find yourself confusing times, places and people, even if they were once familiar to you. You may have difficulty following a set of directions or staying on task. You may also get lost easily and have difficulty retracing your steps.
Again, if you’ve always had cognitive difficulties in this regard, or if you’re experiencing mild difficulty, this alone may not be symptomatic of dementia. But if this constitutes a significant change in how you operate and affects your everyday life, it’s important to entertain the possibility that you’re experiencing early symptoms of dementia.
Changes in Mood
Hand-in-hand with dementia’s forgetfulness and confusion comes significant mood changes. You may feel frustrated more easily because you’re forgetting things or find the world around you confusing. You may feel suspicious because you have trouble recognizing familiar places or people, or you’re concerned that objects you can’t find may be stolen. You may also become depressed or reclusive in response to a decreased ability to function like you used to in a fast-paced world.
Decreased Ability to Care for Yourself
With dementia, you may experience a decreased ability to care for yourself, including for matters of hygiene, nutrition and safety. This can be for any number of reasons. You may not remember how to perform these tasks, for instance, or you may have difficulty following the steps involved. You may also find your judgment impaired
Preventing Dementia and Providing Care
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for dementia, and researchers aren’t clear on how to prevent it either. However, studies have pointed to several lifestyle factors that are associated with a decreased risk of dementia, such as:
- Not smoking, or quitting smoking
- Maintaining an active lifestyle
- Maintaining a healthy weight and blood pressure
- Eating a healthy, balanced and varied diet
- Reducing your risk of head trauma
- Maintaining strong social connections and staying mentally active
If you’re concerned about warning signs of dementia in yourself or a loved one, it’s important to seek out a health screening as soon as possible.
While modern science doesn’t yet know how to cure dementia or slow its onset, you can begin to make arrangements for dementia care to improve your quality of life. While family and friends can give some care, you may need to hire a dementia caregiver, especially as your needs increase.
Dementia can be a devastating condition for both patients and their friends and family. By knowing the warning signs of dementia, consulting with your physician, and seeking comprehensive dementia care in Atlanta or elsewhere, you’ll assure the best possible quality of life for yourself or a loved one.
Angel Companions Senior Care serves all 27 Greater Atlanta counties and has the most experienced memory caregivers that are trained in detecting the warning signs of dementia and caring for people suffering with this difficult disease. As the child or guardian of a loved one struggling with dementia you do not have to handle care alone. We provide part or full-time care and companionship to make sure your loved one stay safe and happy in their home! If you have any questions please use our contact page form or call us today at 770-579-5000!