Identifying Early Stages of Dementia
The number of people living with dementia worldwide is currently estimated at 50 million is expected to triple in the next 50 years. With this kind of increase, it is important to be able to recognize if you or someone you love is being affected by dementia. While aging comes with many changes to a person’s mind and body, there are some specific signs to look for to help identify the early stages of dementia.
Early Dementia Warning Signs
Before dementia progresses, there are several signs to be aware of in people. Keep in mind, dementia is not considered “normal” aging, therefore if you notice these signs/symptoms it is important to seek professional help and guidance.
- Memory – an individual will forget important dates or events often and may not remember them at all.
- Language – an individual may have difficulty determining the correct vocabulary to use for familiar objects.
- Familiar Tasks – an individual may have difficulty remembering processes that are familiar to them i.e cooking, turning on the T.V, making the bed, etc.
- Disorientation – an individual may have difficulty remember where they are, the time of day, or what day it is.
- Thinking – an individual may show decision making that is illogical or irrational (i.e not knowing how to pay for something at a store)
- Judgement – an individual may make poor choices and not recognize the error in those choices (i.e using Monopoly money to pay for groceries)
- Spacial Awareness – an individual may not be able to determine how far away something is or how close it is.
- Misplacing Items – an individual will not remember where they have put items.
- Mood – an individual’s mood may alter suddenly for no apparent reason.
- Engagement – an individual is not as interested or engaged in activities that they normally participate in.
While these signs and symptoms are not conclusive, they are a starting point for determining if someone may be in the early stages of dementia. It is most important to talk with the individual and medical professionals about the causes of concern.
Getting Proper Care For Early Stage Dementia
After assessing (yourself) that someone you know or love may need additional help, here are some steps you can take to get them the care they deserve.
- Talk to the individual of concern. Let them know what you have observed and get their take on things.
- Research medical professionals in your area who can help. Find the right place and person to give you the help you need.
- Have a meeting with the individual and their family or close friends. It is important to have a good support system and this begins with a conversation.
- Set up an action plan with the individual for how they want the situation to be handled. Let them be a part of the decision making process.
- Create a calendar with important dates, specifically appointments, so that nothing is missed.
- Research living arrangements that will be needed once individuals cannot live on their own.
The early stages of dementia can be a difficult time for everyone. There are a lot of unknowns coupled with new challenges. Orchard at Brookhaven seeks to provide a solution to your problems. Our staff is very understanding of this difficult time and is happy to answer any questions you may have at any point. For more information please schedule a consultation.