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Welcome to Episode 3 of Home Care Assistance Live here from Brick, New Jersey.
Today we are going to be talking about the five early signs of Dementia that you should be looking for when you are concerned about a loved one.
Remember, it can sometimes be difficult to decipher the difference between natural memory loss due to aging and the early signs of Dementia. So, how are you supposed to know if the behaviors that you are seeing are just something normal or if there is something that you need to be concerned with?
It is important to realize that memory loss could be a warning sign for Dementia and Alzheimer’s, but it also could just be part of the normal occurrence of aging. So today we are going to review five signs that you should be looking for that will help you determine if the memory loss is just natural or if it is something that you may want to look into.
Now one memory loss symptom doesn’t mean that you have to be running out and talking to a neurologist. However, if you do notice several of these symptoms that we are going to be talking about today you may want to get it checked out.
So, let’s get to it here.
Vision Problems. One of the early signs of Dementia is a change in vision. Your loved one may have trouble reading or seeing the difference in colors or contrast. They may begin to experience trouble judging distances and may have issues with driving. You may also see that your loved one is struggling to resolve spatial relationships of various types, such as the distance between the table and the chair, or the distance between holding a glass and putting it onto a shelf. These are some signs that you may want to look for.
Trouble with Speaking or Writing Words. Another early sign of Dementia is that it becomes difficult for a Dementia sufferer to follow a conversation. For example, you may have observed your loved one in the middle of a conversation with no idea how to continue. You might see that they struggle to find the right words. Now we all forget words from time to time and eventually remember them. However, people with Dementia can’t retrieve the words even after working at it for a long period of time.
Your loved one may also begin to repeat sentences within a conversation or say the same thing repeatedly in a short period of time. You may find that they’re saying the same stories over and over as if it’s the first time that they’re saying the story to you. These are all things that you should look out for.
Poor Judgment. Dementia changes and decreases one’s ability to make good judgments. You may find your loved one asking strangers for odd things like a tissue or quarter for no apparent reason. They may begin to give money to telemarketers or pay less attention to personal grooming. They may just start making bad decisions that normally they wouldn’t do. These are all signs of potential dementia issues.
Forgetting the Seasons. If your loved one is in the early stages of dementia, they may not be able to remember what day, date or even what season it is. People with Dementia may think that they are in a different year. Sometimes they may think that they are in the past and they may begin to lose the ability to understand that something happened yesterday or that it’s going to be happening tomorrow.
The whole concept of time may change. Time begins to shrink in dementia patients, to the point that they only understand what is happening in the here and the now. This confusion can extend to a misunderstanding of place. For example, your loved one may be sitting in your living room but he or she thinks that they are in another place entirely (usually another place that’s familiar and carries a fond memory).
Withdrawal from Work and Social Activities. If your loved one is an outgoing individual and suddenly stops participating in activities, social gatherings or hobbies, this could be a sign of Dementia. Dementia makes it difficult to remember how to interact or conduct a hobby. In the early stages of Dementia people realize the changes that they’re going through and as a result they may tend to avoid social interaction altogether.
Remember, often times those with dementia are afraid that people are going to catch on to their disease and therefore they may avoid putting themselves in those situations. It’s not easy for a proud person to admit that they’re having any type of these struggles. So, if you start to see that your loved one was the life of the party and all of a sudden they don’t want to go to the party and they don’t want to be part of the activities that they’ve always been part of, then that is something that should be looked into.
It is important to understand these signs and if you observe these early signs you should talk to your loved one’s primary physician or ask for a referral to a neurologist for testing. Early diagnosis can lead to treatment strategies that can make life easier and less frustrating for your loved one. Fortunately, researchers are finding that new early detection and treatment for Dementia is available.
Hopefully this helps. We are always available at Home Care Assistance to answer any questions related to Dementia care. You can also visit our Dementia and Alzheimer’s Resource Center for more information.