Dementia is a name used to describe a set of symptoms that include overall mental decline. Sometimes friends and loved ones have a difficult time knowing if their family member has dementia. Quite often their symptoms are related to memory loss and old age. Only a physician can diagnose early dementia by considering various factors to make this determination.
Some of the earliest signs of dementia can include:
- Problems with vision. These could be distance related or have to do with color or reading.
- Difficult writing or speaking. The person may seem to be at a loss for words or have trouble following your conversation.
- Usually, early dementia begins with forgetting the day or month and the season. The concepts of yesterday or tomorrow may be difficult for them to understand.
- Social withdrawal. If someone who is usually very outgoing socially stops participating in activities they usually enjoy, it may be an early sign of dementia. This is because they have problems understanding complicated situations and are losing their ability to interact with others.
Normal age related memory loss will occur alongside these symptoms. An example of age related memory loss (and this begins quite early!) is to enter a room and forget why they are there and what they came there for.
How can you care for someone who is exhibiting the early signs of dementia?
Be patient and adjust schedules accordingly.
Support your loved one with gentle reminders posted where they will see them and lists that they can follow. Simplifying schedules will make it easier for them to avoid confusion.
Contact their healthcare provider and consider home care.
There are medications that can slow down various types of dementia. A doctor may have your loved one see a specialist such as a neurologist. If you need daily support, look into home care to help with basic tasks.
Early dementia can be frightening for everyone who is involved. Find out everything you can about the disease so you can provide support and care for your loved one when they need it most. For more tips on caring for someone with early dementia, click here.