Nobody likes to think about dementia. However, it’s an unfortunately common consequence of growing old. As your family members age, you may notice a few warning signs of the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. When you notice these signs more and more frequently, it may be time to start looking for full-time memory care.
Common Symptoms of Dementia
Dementia and Alzheimer’s are preceded by multiple symptoms and a noticeable change in behavior. One of these symptoms on its own might not be as severe. However, multiple symptoms on a regular basis could mean trouble. Keep an eye out for the following behavioral patterns:
- Memory loss
- Mood changes
- Losing track of belongings
- Difficulty planning or problem-solving
- Conversational difficulties
- Losing track of time
1) Memory Loss
Dementia-induced memory loss can take on multiple forms. The first and most common possibility is that your loved one forgets recent events. Conversations or activities from even moments before might be completely forgotten afterward. This is a very serious indicator of a problem.
Memory loss could also manifest if your loved one suddenly needs help with habits or daily tasks. Maybe they’ve forgotten how to drive to a store they’ve been shopping at for years, or can’t remember the rules of their favorite game. This type of memory loss is different but equally problematic. Try a few memory retention exercises to help slow this symptom down.
Pro Tip: Everyone changes with age. While you should expect some changes to your loved one’s behavior and personality, keep yourself informed so you can differentiate between aging and dementia symptoms.
2) Mood Changes
The onset of dementia brings with it uncertainty about the world. You may observe your loved one suddenly being impatient or easily frightened, particularly when away from the familiarity of home. Depression can also develop. A seemingly random change in personality could indicate the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s are arriving.
3) Losing Track of Belongings
In the same vein as memory loss, your loved one may lose track of a personal belonging or misplace it by accident. In some cases, they may accuse others of stealing it because they don’t remember moving it. Repeatedly losing personal belongings in easy-to-find places indicates a severe problem.
4) Difficulty Planning or Problem-Solving
If your loved one struggles to remember habits or routines, you’ll likely see their problem-solving skills worsening as well. A simple math equation could confuse them. They may also have trouble thinking about the future and making plans, even simple plans such as where to go for lunch. In less severe cases, your loved one will still be capable of planning or problem-solving but will require more time. Either situation could be a potential symptom.
5) Conversational Difficulties
Memory loss will often manifest itself in conversation. If you notice your loved one struggling to keep up with others in a conversation, repeating the same stories, or stumbling over their words, it’s probably time to call a doctor.
6) Losing Track of Time
We all get absorbed in what we’re doing and don’t realize how much time has passed. However, people with Alzheimer’s experience this to a greater degree. Instead of just being unaware of the passage of time, your loved one may lose track of what day, month, or year it is. They may forget where they are and how or when they arrived. In general, anything that isn’t happening immediately in front of them will be difficult for them to understand. The longer this goes untreated, the worse the eventual memory loss will be.
Helping Your Loved One with Dementia
Sadly, once the symptoms become undeniable, there’s little that you can do on your own. However, a well-equipped memory care facility can help your loved one from progressing any further in their dementia and provide them with a happy, safe life. You can rest assured that your loved one will receive exactly the care they need to help them thrive in this stage of life.