Dementia is a common ailment for individuals entering their elderly years. A person suffering from dementia may need more help and assistance than you can give, which is why it is important to recognize the early signs of dementia so that you can get additional help and prepare for the future. Here are some things you should be looking for in your aging loved one.
1. Your Loved One Is Forgetting Conversations and Appointments
It is normal for someone to have an appointment slip his or her mind here or there. However, it is not normal for a person to forget entire conversations or forget appointments that happened just moments before. For instance, you might talk to your aging mother about meeting for lunch that day, but when lunch arrives, just hours after your conversation, your mother has already forgotten about the appointment. In addition, when you confront her about the missed appointment she may not even recall that you talked on the phone that morning. This is a sign of dementia, since short-term memory seems to be the first thing that is affected.
2. Your Loved One Seems To Have A Totally Different Personality
Dementia doesn't just affect the individual's memory; it can also harm their personality. You might have had a mother who was always caring, loving and sensitive. Now your mother seems to be short, easily-angered, and aggressive. Someone who might have always been a quiet person may now be outspoken and rude.
This can be a hard thing. You might worry that your relationship with your loved one is failing because you are unable to get along. It is important to remember that this is the illness changing their behavior, not necessarily their true feelings about you or your relationship.
3. Your Loved One Wanders
Because short-term memory will be the first to be affected with dementia you might notice that your loved one is wandering. They will easily be able to find their way around places that are familiar to them, since as their childhood home. But when going on a walk in a new park, they will become lost and wander throughout the park not remembering what they were doing or where they were going.
In addition, they might go to the other room to grab a pen, and be gone for an hour, since once they got to the other room they forgot what they were doing and decided to watch TV.
If you notice any of these signs in your loved one, talk to a professional who works with memory care and consider looking into treatment options.