Early Signs of Dementia

While a person who is getting on in years will often forget things and may seem to have a hard time handling seemingly easy tasks, it is important to be aware that in some cases an elderly individual’s problems stem not from old age but from dementia. Residents who live near an elderly parent or close relative should be on the lookout for these signs to determine in the individual in questions needs professional dementia care. Following is an overview of some of the most common early signs of dementia.

Monetary Issues
Unpaid bills piling up are a warning sign that someone is losing the ability to properly care for him or herself. It is not uncommon for a person with dementia to lose the ability to handle money well. Such individuals may make purchases based on desires rather than sound financial planning while leaving important bills unpaid.

Personal Care Problems
Another early sign of dementia is the lack of ability to care for oneself properly. Unkempt hair, a dirty home and/or wearing dirty clothes are all warning signs. This is especially true for those who regularly take the time to dress neatly and properly groom themselves.

Eating and Health Issues
Many people in the early (and late) stages of dementia are unable to properly prepare food. An individual who notices that an elderly loved one is rapidly losing weight and seems to lack energy should take this loved one to a doctor to be examined for dementia.

Apathy
Many people with dementia are apathetic. They may not want to spend time with friends or relatives, refuse to go out to different places or even lose the desire to engage in hobbies they previously enjoyed.

Mood Swings
Mood swings are yet another common symptom of dementia. Given the fact that many people with this condition feel confused, have a hard time communicating and cannot care for themselves properly, it is not surprising that individuals with dementia often experience depression.

Getting help for a person with dementia as soon as possible is very important. The above warning signs should be taken seriously and a person who notices these symptoms in him or herself or an elderly loved one should see a doctor at the earliest possible opportunity. Proper treatment can reduce symptoms and help a person live a happy, fulfilling life for as long as possible. For more information on how to get help, call HealthStar Home Health at 651.633.7300

Recognizing Signs of Alzheimer’s

If caught in the early stages, there are more treatment possibilities available to those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Being able to recognize the early warning signs, makes it possible to get a loved one the proper care needed before symptoms progress. Signs of Alzheimer’s can often be confused with normal signs of aging. Which is why we suggest knowing how to recognize the warning signs before jumping to conclusions.

Warning signs

When trying to determine if a loved one is starting to show signs of Alzheimer’s it is important to keep track of what is observed from day-to-day. Observations can include actions, conversations and activities the individual participates in regularly. Here are some early warning signs of Alzheimer’s:

  • Daily routines are disrupted by memory loss
  • Experiencing challenges with planning
  • Decline in cognitive thinking and abilities
  • Having difficulty with familiar tasks
  • Confusion with time and/or place
  • Difficulty with spatial relationships and visual images (known as agnosia)
  • Problems with speaking and understanding language (known as aphasia)
  • Misplacing things more than normal
  • Inability to retrace steps
  • Poor judgment
  • Withdrawing from social activities
  • Continual changes in mood and/or personality, including signs of hostility and depression
  • Behavior issues
  • Experiencing sundowning, meaning behavioral issues get worse in the late afternoon and evening hours of the day
  • Difficulty with basic motor skills (known as aprazia)
  • Experiencing strong emotional responses to minor problems
  • Psychosis – recurring hallucinations and/or delusions

What to do

If there are any concerns a loved one is experiencing any of the above listed warning signs, it might be necessary to see his or her physician. The doctor will be able to offer a proper diagnosis after a full day of evaluations. In most cases, this is done on an outpatient basis, making it possible to keep the loved one in the comfort of his or her own home.

Make sure to ask the doctor what diagnostic procedures will be used to determine if the patient is suffering from Alzheimer’s. If the evaluation process does not sound comprehensive enough, it might be necessary to seek assistance from a different physician.

If a family member is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease in the Duluth, Minneapolis, or Bemidji areas, let us here are HealthStar Home Health help. We can help loved ones continue living lives as independently as possible. Learn more about our comprehensive Alzheimer’s program, Becoming an Alzheimer’s Whisperer.