Sometimes your senior might experience situations that make her worry that she’s developing dementia. But are some of those situations just related to normal aging? You, as her family caregiver, and her senior care aides and keep track of these incidences.
What you and senior care can watch out for:
Issues with Short Term Memory
Memory loss is often the first symptom that your senior is likely to notice and to become concerned about. The type of memories that she usually notices issues in are the short-term memories. In normal aging, your senior may forget where she left her glasses when she’s busy doing several things at once. But in dementia, memory issues may involve bigger issues with information that you just told her a few minutes before.
Solving Problems and Planning Ahead
Problem solving is built into life, especially for seniors who want to age in place. If your elderly family member is developing dementia, planning ahead may be getting more difficult and some of the solutions your senior comes up with to problems might be very difficult to understand. Normal aging involves your senior being more deliberate in thinking things through.
Confusion can also be a common issue with both normal aging and dementia. In the case of normal aging, your senior might go into another room and forget for a moment why she came into that room. For people with dementia, that confusion is usually much deeper and extends into trouble orienting time, including time of day and what day it is, as well as becoming confused in a previously familiar location.
People with dementia may have a difficult time finding the right word when it’s needed. For many people with dementia, eventually they find that they aren’t able to speak at all. In terms of normal aging, your senior may occasionally blank out when she’s looking for a word or lose track of a conversation when she’s distracted. This typically only happens occasionally, though.
Problems with Mood and Behaviors
Everyone has moods. For people going through normal aging, moods can be related to health issues and challenges and usually make sense. People with dementia may find that it’s a lot more difficult to regulate their moods and behaviors. And your senior may start reacting to situations in ways that don’t always make sense to you.
Help from Senior Care Providers
Dealing with some of these changes can be extremely challenging both for you and for your senior. Having help from senior care providers, especially in the beginning stages of dementia, helps your elderly family member to become more comfortable leaning on assistance.