Early symptoms of dementia can be subtle and vary between people. While some people pick up on changes in their own thinking or behavior that might be caused by dementia, sometimes these signs are first noticed by those around them.
If you have noticed a change in someone close to you, the steps below can help you assist them in seeking diagnosis and treatment.
Identifying the Early Indicators
Early diagnosis can help people better live with the disease, giving them options to pharmacological and social remedies that have help to slow the progression of dementia. It also allows your loved one to have control in preparing for their future.
Early signs that a person might have dementia can include:
- Being vague in daily conversation
- Memory loss that affects daily functioning
- Loss of enthusiasm or interest in activities that used to be fun
- Difficulties in thinking or choosing the right words
- Changes in personality
- Difficulty following instructions
- Difficulty following stories
- Emotional instability
If you notice these changes, try to find a time and place to have a conversation with your loved one. See if they notice these changes too.
Seek out a medical professional
Try to set up an appointment with a doctor. Any doctor can diagnose dementia, including a primary doctor.
If they are reluctant to see a doctor to discuss memory concerns, try to pair this appointment with a routine checkup.
Accompany your loved one to the doctor’s office to make the trip easier. Offer to take notes and drive.
Do not self-diagnose. There are other conditions that mimic signs of dementia and delirium, the most common being a urinary tract infection or depression. Others are medicines, stress, nutritional disorders, stroke, alcohol misuse, hormone disorders and brain. It is important to identify the cause, even if not dementia.
To know one person with dementia is to know one person with dementia
As of now, there are over 80 types of dementia, the most common form being Alzheimer’s disease. All people carry unique live experiences and family structures. This includes where we grew up, our occupation, and education. Throughout the progression, including in the beginning, appeal to the likes and interests of the person living with dementia. Simplify tasks if they are stuck.
It will take a team
The needs of someone living with dementia intensify throughout the course of the disease. Eventually all regular bodily system cycles may not correspond with those. Your loved one may want to be up during the night, eat at different intervals, and even wander and forget where they are going. You will be tested 24/7 all days of year, without vacation. Your job becomes thankless and their frustration may be taken out on you.
It is important to build your care team slowly as needs change. Consider at a minimum help every other day. This will be a good start in ensuring that your loved one’s needs are met and that they continue to engage socially with other people.
Let us be part of your care team
We have been caring exclusively for older adults since 2002.
Call us today to learn how NursePartners can help you through this journey: 610-323-9800.