Early Signs of Dementia

Adult children and family members can struggle when it comes to noticing potential warning signs of health decline in their senior loved ones. It can be difficult to know when shortness of breath walking down the stairs crosses over from being deconditioned to a more chronic condition. The same goes with memory issues. When does something you notice turn from “normal aging” or “forgetfulness” to something more serious that requires an appointment from a physician?

At CaringGivers, we strive to be the support for our senior clients and for their loved ones. In our years of working side-by-side with seniors and their family members in the greater D.C. community, we have been able to share our knowledge with those we serve. If you have been wondering if mom is just normally forgetful or if she is in the early stages of dementia, here are a few signs that could indicate a problem.

Remember, if you are ever worried or unsure, make an appointment with your loved one’s primary care physician. Confusion, disorientation, or forgetfulness could be caused by a myriad of conditions, including new medications, dehydration, or Alzheimer’s Disease. It is best to consult a physician if you are worried.

Problems Paying Bills On Time
Dementia affects memory, but it also causes disruption in organizational skills. If your loved one is having problems effectively paying their bills, whether skipping payments or doubling payments, it could indicate a cognitive issue.

Paying bills and keeping up with daily household tasks require complex problem solving and organizational skills. If your loved one is having difficulty with these tasks, it could be a sign to follow up with their primary care physician.

Increased Isolation
Seniors living with early stages of dementia realize they are forgetting crucial parts on information and can feel embarrassed to head out with their friends or family members. They can begin skipping social events or heading out early. Unfortunately, this self-imposed isolation can increase the speed of memory loss. If you notice your loved one is spending more time alone or at home, it is time to make an appointment with the doctor.

An important note: isolation can also be caused by hearing loss or a poorly functioning hearing aid. Be sure you are addressing that issue as well.

Expired Food in the Fridge
A telltale sign of a decrease in cognitive skills is found in the cabinets and in the household fridge. Meal preparation requires multi-step thinking: planning a menu, making a grocery list, getting groceries, preparing the meal, eating the meal, and getting rid of leftovers in a timely fashion. Cognitive decline can make healthy nutrition feel overwhelming and nearly impossible. If you notice expired food in your loved one’s fridge, consider making an appointment with the doctor.

Word Finding Difficulties
Verbal skills and communication are affected quickly in the early stages of dementia. If you notice your loved one having difficulty keeping up with a conversation, not finding words, or becoming frustrated while trying to tell a story, it could indicate some cognitive decline.

Seniors living in the early stages of dementia can still live safely at home, with the right support from family members. If your loved one has a diagnosis of dementia, or if you think they need a few hours of additional help or socialization during their week, the team at CaringGivers is ready to assist.
Our caregivers are experienced working with seniors living with dementia, and we develop a support plan that includes interventions to assist with everything from meal preparation to daily hygiene to medication management. Let us design a customized care plan for your loved one that gives them the support they need to stay healthy at home.

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