Beyond Forgetfulness: Other Side Effects of Dementia

When you hear the word dementia, what symptoms come to mind? For most people, forgetfulness is the hallmark sign of Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementia. However, there are many other side effects that accompany a dementia diagnosis. While each person is unique, and their journey will not be exactly like someone else with dementia, there are certain potential side effects family members should consider. Some of these challenges can show up as the disease progresses, while others can be present throughout.

If you have a loved one living with some type of dementia, the more educated you can become about the disease, the better you can be an advocate. Here are just a few symptoms that may show up.

Choose to use caring body language to communicate your love and support.

Communication Difficulties
One of the more common side effects of dementia, besides forgetfulness, involves communication. People living with dementia often struggle with communication, which can be frustrating for the person and their loved ones. Dementia can make finding certain words more difficult, or the disease can decrease attention span which makes holding a conversation sometimes seem impossible.

If your loved one has difficulties with communication, be patient and resist the urge to guess what they are trying to say. Use plenty of body language, encouraging your loved one to point or gesture to facilitate conversation.

Poor Judgment
Many people living with dementia experience poor judgment, which can lead to dangerous decision making. To add to the complications that arise from poor decisions, this lack of good judgment often shows up at the beginning of the disease progression when the person is still living alone or with minimal assistance. This side effect can cause the person to wear seasonally inappropriate clothing, to being especially susceptible to senior targeted scams. In any case, poor judgment can cause physical, emotional, or financial problems.

If you think your loved one is showing poor judgment, it is time to begin implementing measures to keep them safe. Hiring a professional caregiver can be an excellent way to keep your loved one safe, and to give you peace of mind.

Finally, dementia can cause paranoia or even delusions. This side effect can be especially concerning for family members and can even cause confusion. People living with dementia can begin thinking that a friend or family member is stealing from them when that is not truly the case. However, neglecting to follow up with the concerns from the person with dementia can make them more susceptible to abuse.

If your loved one is feeling afraid or concerned about situations you are not sure are happening, take a deep breath. It is important to investigate to assure your loved one is safe, but as you look into the situation, remember there can be paranoia or delusions at play.

Dementia is a complex disease full of complex side effects. One way you can combat dementia side effects is to provide stimulation in the form of friendly visitors. The team at CaringGivers is well versed in caring for people with dementia, and we are able to provide a calming and friendly presence. In addition, we can offer our suggestions and our observations to family members who are wondering how Mom is really doing.

Give us a call today to set up your free consultation. Caring for your loved one takes a team. We would love to be a part of yours.

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