Dementia is a medical term we use to describe a number of symptoms and conditions that affect a person’s cognitive function. This includes seemingly minor symptoms like a person’s inability to recall names or remember where they put something, to more serious forms of dementia that drastically affect a person’s quality of life.
There’s a misconception that dementia is a natural occurrence with aging. Sure, we naturally experience a little forgetfulness now and then, but regular memory loss or deterioration of cognitive function is not considered a normal occurrence of aging. The best plan of care for dementia, which includes Alzheimer’s disease, involves diagnosing the condition as early as possible.
Because the signs of early dementia are often subtle, early diagnosis is something that fails to happen in a lot of cases. Here are 4 of the early signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s to be aware of.
Changes to Short Term Memory
Among the earliest signs of dementia are changes to short term memory. These changes might seem relatively minor at first and might not even be noticeable to anyone other than the person experiencing them. It might start with not remembering an important appointment or forgetting the name of a new neighbor. It’s common for dementia to begin with fading short-term memory loss while memories from years ago remain intact.
Inability to Self-Express
We’ve all been talking and suddenly found ourselves unable to come up with the right word. This feeling of the word you want “being on the tip of your tongue” is a normal, although occasional experience. It’s when this begins to happen more frequently that there’s cause for concern. People with early dementia often have trouble with self-expression because they just find the right word. You might notice that conversations with a person with early stage dementia take longer than they did in the past.
Dementia can affect a person’s judgement, which can directly affect their mood and behavior. Of the early signs of dementia, this is one that often becomes apparent to others while the person experiencing the shifts in mood doesn’t recognize the change or blows it off as being caused by something else. For instance, a person who is normally outgoing might suddenly become introverted and blame it on changing interests and not having anything in common. A person with a normally sunny disposition might suddenly become more abrasive and attribute it to other factors.
Difficulty with Self Care
Dementia can make certain acts of self-care more difficult, so the person with early onset symptoms may begin to appear as though the don’t care about daily tasks as much as they once did. It might begin with failing to log into their accounts to pay bills online or developing a lack of interest in complex card games or crossword puzzle. After a while, this can progress to forgetting to bathe, change their clothes or do daily upkeep in their home environment.
Know the Early Signs of When to Consider Dementia Care
Dementia care and Alzheimer’s care are important for increasing the quality of life for people with cognitive disorders. Memory care supports the patient, and enables them to find enjoyment in life, while keeping them safe and healthy in ways they are no longer capable of managing on their own. If you’d like to know more about dementia care in Lombard, IL then we’d like to talk. Schedule a tour with Lexington Square today to discover more about our memory care services for your loved one.