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Looking for the Signs: How to Detect Early Dementia

Dementia is a disorder in the brain that affects thousands of Americans. When a friend or family member begins showing early signs of mental disintegration, it can be a very troubling experience for everyone involved.

Dementia interferes with a person’s daily life and can often lead to even bigger problems like Alzheimer’s disease.1 The good news is that not all forms of dementia are irreversible; some stem from thyroid issues, alcohol consumption, and even vitamin deficiencies, but it’s important to recognize the signs to determine how the person can best be helped.

At Home Care Assistance San Antonio, our home caregivers understand the pain and sorrow early dementia cases can inflict. If you’re concerned about a close friend or family member, we recommend keeping an eye out for the following symptoms:

Memory Loss

Memory loss has become a staple indicator of early dementia.2 However, irregular or single periods are not enough to classify someone as a potential victim. The behavior should occur frequently or on multiple occasions before you start to get worried.

Furthermore, signs of memory loss in early dementia patients will be relatively obvious. The person is likely to ask the same questions again and again, despite being answered multiple times. They’re also bound to repeat themselves—sometimes word-for-word or in long-winded fashion because their short-term memory is affected, and they cannot remember things they’ve recently spoken about.

They will forget how to perform simple activities, like playing games or paying bills, or they can become lost in even the most familiar surroundings. They might even forget larger facts, like the names of close relatives or associates.

It’s also not uncommon for dementia patients to misplace their belongings. Leaving their keys or a phone in the sugar bowl, for example, could be a serious indicator that the person is suffering from early dementia. Placing the remote control in the fridge or anything unusual like this is a common side effect, and, should you notice any of these symptoms or behaviors in someone you love, it’s important to speak with one of our specialists to learn how you can get them the help they deserve.

Language Skills

caregiver-handing-senior-coffeeAnother sign of early dementia is the sudden inability to communicate.3 It’s not uncommon for early sufferers to be unable to understand simple directions, statements, or commands. Often, they’ll have difficulty forming longer sentences or speaking beyond a basic vocabulary. Sometimes, they can’t understand what they, themselves, are saying, and this can lead to serious frustration for the patient.

This affliction doesn’t just affect their ability to speak. It also affects their ability to write. One might assume, when caring for seniors, that offering the patient a pen and paper is the best chance to promote proper communication, but this isn’t always the case. Communication requires thought and mental power, and, if that power is deteriorating, the words will not appear in the person’s head. If they cannot form the sentences in their mind, they will not be able to transfer them to paper. Communication problems are common among those suffering from early dementia, and it’s important to be aware if this is occurring frequently with someone you know and love.

Inability to Focus

A person with early dementia will often appear confused or disoriented in some way, even if they’re performing a familiar task. Common activities like household chores or even dressing in the mornings can become very difficult duties that the person eventually won’t be able to do without in home care service.

Patients can also lose track of time very easily. They have difficulty with decision-making while planning daily routines or monetary exchanges, and transactions may become serious hassles that somehow feel impossible. It’s also common to see a lack of initiative or apathy in those suffering from early dementia. Many become highly inactive or don’t seem to bear interest in anything. Any hobbies or side ventures the person took part in are likely to be pushed aside, while things like watching television for several hours or sleeping irregularly are common signs that one’s mental health may be in jeopardy.

Behavioral Changes

People with early dementia are usually prone to mood swings or erratic behavior. One minute, they can be calm and serene, while just a few seconds later they’ll fly into a rage for no apparent reason. People with early dementia can also exhibit higher levels of emotion than normal, or vice versa, and can often appear depressed, angry, or anxious without cause. If a person is showing signs of rapid emotional change, it may be a signal that he or she needs in home care management.

Inability to Adapt or Change

Another indicator of early dementia is a person’s reaction to change. Does change seem to make them uncomfortable or angry in some way? Usually, patients suffering from early dementia are not willing to try new things. They’ve become used to certain routines, and disruptions in those routines can become very difficult or scary for them.

A sudden change from open-mindedness to extreme seclusion can be a major hint of mental deterioration, and the person will probably require professional assistance to help them cope.

What You Can Do

If you know someone who’s suffering from early dementia, it’s important to show compassion and understanding. That person has a long and arduous journey ahead; they’re going to require lots of help performing basic tasks, and it’s your job to be patient and gentle with them.

If you can, make time in your day for visits or to lend a helping hand. Aid them in their daily routines and work with them so that their symptoms progress slowly. The best thing for a person with early dementia is to be surrounded by loving and caring people, and this includes you. Encourage them to play cards or spend time in the garden; do crafts together and show them how much there is to really enjoy. With your help, that person can hang onto what’s left of his or her former self and continue to live life without feeling the effects of the ongoing disorder.

When You Require the Hand of a Professional Caregiver

senior-and-caregiver-walkingSometimes, senior care assistance is needed. If a person’s symptoms are getting worse or family members or caretakers don’t have the time or resources to care for the patient, it’s best to acknowledge the situation and get them the help they truly require.

At Home Care Assistance San Antonio, we treat all our patients with equal care and respect. Our qualified and highly trained staff members have worked in the field for years, and we understand what you and your loved ones are going through. Here, our home caregivers try to make things easy for everyone.

Through a renowned and unique system, Home Care Assistance does things a little differently. Every admitting client can choose the specific caregiver who will oversee a person’s daily routines without the binding force of a contract. The live-in care we provide is unparalleled, and we serve patients in a variety of ways, including housekeeping, medication reminders, meal preparation, and mobility.

We also seek to promote healthy eating and nutrition. We emphasize the importance of physical and mental exercise while trying to create a calm environment for patients where they can maintain relationships and regularly socialize. Our caregivers are among the best of the best, and we help families heal from the damage of early dementia. Call us today at (210) 996-2733 for more information. We’re happy to answer any questions you might have.

No one should have to live with dementia alone. We’re here for you and your family, so please get in touch.