Friday, January 24, 2014

The Signs of Dementia You Must Know About in 2014

Though a decline in memory is a regular part of the aging process, it’s also important that families understand the signs of dementia, as they are different from normal memory loss. If your senior forgets the day of the week or struggles to recall a person’s name, this doesn’t necessarily indicate that they are suffering from a memory related disease. However, it’s important to be aware of some of the hallmarks of dementia, and to seek guidance from a medical professional if these signs appear. 

Some of the common signs of dementia include:

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Trouble with abstract thinking
  • Poor reasoning skills
  • Disorientation regarding place and time
  • Poor hygiene
  • Paranoia or hallucinations
  • Issues with balance or fine motor skills

Those with dementia frequently ask the same questions over and over. They may have issues remembering where they are or how they got there, and they may have a hard time following simple directions or getting to places that they’ve visited many times. 

Additionally, seniors who are suffering from dementia may also deal with the results of poor nutrition. This is because they often forget to eat, or end up living off of unhealthy meals with no real nutritional value. You may find that the food in their refrigerator has gone bad, or that their cupboards are full of strictly junk food.

Elderly individuals who are dealing with dementia typically also show a shift in their personality. They may get agitated easily, or demonstrate erratic behavior. While this can be frustrating to family members and friends, it’s important to understand that this is a direct result of the disease, and is not happening because the person is trying to be spiteful. 

While there is, unfortunately, no vaccination or preventative treatment for dementia, studies show that mental stimulation and good health habits can help to slow or delay the onset of this devastating condition. Make sure that your elderly loved one gets plenty of sleep, eats nutritious food, and challenges their mind daily. This could be through stimulating conversation, reading, or doing crossword puzzles and other word games. 

Understand that some cognitive decline is normal as your elderly loved one ages, but regularly forgetting common words, losing items and finding them in strange places, or getting lost in a familiar area may indicate that something more serious is taking place. 

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