Identifying Dementia in Aging Parents: 6 Surefire Signs
Dementia is a worldwide problem. There are an estimated 50 million people on the planet living with this syndrome. It not only affects the person. It affects their caregivers and families.
You probably find yourself asking: How do I know if this is a normal part of aging, or do I need to seek professional help for my loved one? Is my loved one having a “senior moment”? Or could it be much more serious?
When it comes to identifying dementia in aging parents, there are several surefire signs you may or may not notice. Keep reading to learn what you should look for.
What is Dementia?
Dementia refers to significant problems with memory and at least one other cognitive ability such as language or reasoning. According to the American Psychological Association, sometimes dementia leads to Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, vascular dementia, or Lewy body dementia.
What is Lewy Body Dementia? It is when abnormal microscopic deposits damage brain cells over time. What is Vascular Dementia? This occurs when a group of conditions causes a decline in cognitive skills like reasoning, judgment, and memory.
Sacrificial independence can occur when senior citizens face memory and judgment problems due to cognitive impairment. They may find themselves confused while experiencing more anxiety than the usual as to what new course their lives will take.
No one over 50 is immune to memory lapses. Some joke that they are having a “senior moment.” Simple forgetfulness or confusion is part of normal aging. However, some types of behavior will stand out such as:
- your aged loved one is overdrawn in their checking account
- a pile of bills goes unpaid
- post-it notes on the floor throughout the house
- repetition of statements or questions
- mood swings
- unplayed messages on the phone or recorder at home
When you see these warning signs, your first step should be to educate yourself on the actions to take as well as the consequences of inaction.
Start the conversation with the elder loved one. Don’t wait for a crisis to occur. During a “talk”, discuss personal values and preferences, life’s wishes for health care, finances, future daily care needs such as home health aides and outside daycare. Legal aspects such as estate planning, wills, and long term care are important topics to deliberate.
Then seek a check-up/testing from a Neurologist or Geriatric Specialist in order to receive a professional assessment. It is advisable that a team effort take place such as identifying relatives who will be part of a family caregiving team.
If the loved one is going to be at home alone, be sure they wear a Personal Emergency Response pendant/necklace or wristband in order to summon help if needed.
Dealing With Dementia
Have you seen the signs of dementia with your aging parent? We can help you navigate the road ahead. Your life will change as you land in a new world of caregiving.
We at Aging Support Specialists have experience working with senior citizens and their families as advocates, informative educators, and elder and family consultants. If you are miles away from your loved one, an aging life specialist can provide and monitor elder care.
Get a free 30-minute consult from an Aging Support Specialist by booking it right now. We're here to help you celebrate each stage of life, but also help you with the challenges you'll face along the way.