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Understanding Dementia: Signs, Symptoms, and Early Interventions

Coming to terms with a loved one’s dementia or Alzheimer’s diagnosis is never easy. The first symptoms of dementia are things that we would typically expect from someone as they get older like poor memory, confusion, and misplacing items. However, when do you make the call that well you may be dealing with his dementia and not just signs of regular aging?

If you have a loved one who you may suspect has dementia, then you are likely going to do your research – potentially into early warning signs, and memory care communities near me. But how do you know if it’s dementia and not just regular aging? Of course, the only people who can officially diagnose your loved one with dementia is a healthcare professional. But if you’re looking for early warning, signs, here is what you should be on the lookout for:

1. Memory loss that interrupts daily life and tasks. 

Everyone is guilty of having a poor memory every now and then. For our senior loved ones, those poor memory moments tend to come a little more often. Forgetting the name of someone you’ve met, or forgetting your grocery list at home, are pretty common things to do no matter your age. However, when those memory slips begin to affect your day-to-day life, that’s when you may be in the danger zone for dementia.

If you find that your loved one is forgetting names and dates and not remembering them later, or asking the same questions over and over, then you may want to have them speak to a professional. It could be an early sign of dementia.

2. Difficulty in completing familiar tasks. 

There are some tasks that are so familiar to you that you can basically do them while on autopilot. For example, driving to work or driving to your local grocery store is something that you’ve done multiple times, maybe even daily. For many people, driving to work or driving to their local grocery store is something that they could probably do blindfolded.

If you start to notice that your loved one is having trouble with these familiar tasks, it could be an early sign of dementia. This could be from a wide array of tasks: driving to the grocery store, tying their shoes, writing a check, and paying bills. You may find that they’re asking you for help on things that they should definitely know how to do. If you start to notice this happening with your loved one, you should have them checked by a professional and take a closer look at memory care services

3. New problems with words in speaking and writing. 

One of the key attributes of dementia is beginning to struggle with communication, including speaking and writing. This can manifest in a wide variety of ways. You may notice that your loved one is starting to slur when they speak or trip over their words when they’re trying to talk to you. Or, you may notice that when they start to write, they leave words out of sentences or start spelling things wrong. They should definitely know how to spell. You may also notice a change in their handwriting, with their words, spacing out awkwardly or their letters looking a little jumbled.

Problems with speech and writing may look different for everyone, but if you see any of these warning signs, you should have your loved one checked by a healthcare professional.

An adult man and his senior father share a hug

4. Misplacing items and being unable to find them. 

We are all guilty of losing our keys or misplacing our phone at some point. However, the real reason that we know we don’t have dementia, is that we are always able to find them. Or, if we can’t find them, we’ve tried every possible solution that there is that we can think of.

For many seniors, many of those misplaced items simply never reappear. They tend to leave items in strange places that they would never think to check for that particular item. Many seniors with dementia will also become accusatory to the people around them if they aren’t able to find their item. They’ll often blame their family members or friends for stealing the item when it was they who misplaced it in the first place.

If you’ve noticed an uptick in missing or misplaced items, and if you’ve noticed that your loved one is starting to blame others for losing the items, that may be a sign of dementia.

5. Changes in personality. 

One of the biggest warning signs that your loved one may be struggling with dementia is a drastic change in personality. Many, if not all, seniors, who struggle with dementia, don’t realize that their personality is changing in such a drastic way. For most seniors, this drastic personality change manifests in anger. Your senior loved one will often become angry at the slightest provocation, or they may become angry simply, because they don’t understand the majority of what’s going on around them. They may also become stressed out very easily. 

This change in personality does not happen overnight, nor does it stay that way all of the time. You may notice this change in personality, rearing its head every now and then it first, and then it will become a more and more prevalent figure in your senior loved ones life. When you search “memory care communities near me”, you’ll often see many of them who specialize in this kind of care for your loved one. If you’ve noticed a drastic change and don’t know if you will be able to continue to care for your senior left one, it may be time to look into a memory care center.

Letting Your Local Memory Care Community Help You

If you googled “memory care communities near me“, then you likely have a good understanding of what your loved one is struggling with. A dementia diagnosis is hard for any family, because it almost feels like you’re losing your loved one. But here at Serra Sol, we are here to help your loved one feel well cared for and secure. That can give you peace of mind and confidence as we ensure that they are living their highest quality of life. 

If you’re interested in seeing what Serra Sol can do for you, contact us and schedule a tour today.