When you notice memory lapses in an aging parent, it can be frightening and lead you to wonder if they might have dementia.
For some people, the idea can be so disconcerting that they may choose to ignore signs of dementia, denying that it could be happening. Yet, in the back of their mind, the fear can still be there. It’s natural to worry about the health of an elderly parent but knowing the signs of dementia may help you to get them the help they need or ease your worries.
Below are some of the early signs of dementia.
Some slips in memory are a normal part of aging. However, if your parent’s memory loss becomes serious enough to interfere with their daily life, it could signal a problem. A senior who is in the early stages of dementia may rely on notes and other memory aids. They may forget recently learned information, important dates, or ask the same question repeatedly.
Does your parent have trouble finding the right words to express their thoughts? If so, it could be one of the subtle signs of dementia. You might notice that conversations with them take longer because of their difficulty with words.
Apathy, or loss of interest, is common with dementia. Your parent might stop doing some of the things they once enjoyed, such as hobbies or activities. They may stop spending time with friends and family or decline invitations to join in on gatherings.
Dementia affects a person’s ability to make good judgments. As a result, your parent may fall for scams they would have once avoided easily. They might also spend money recklessly or do things that you would consider unsafe.
A senior with dementia may lose items frequently and be unable to retrace their steps to find them. Items may also turn up in strange places, such as putting the remote control in the refrigerator.
Mood and Personality Changes
An older adult with dementia may not act the way they once did. They may experience mood swings, or their personality may change. A once happy and confident senior may become anxious and fearful. They may also become upset easily if they are in an unfamiliar situation.
If your older family member is diagnosed with dementia, elderly care is available to help. An elderly care agency can schedule qualified, vetted, and experienced staff members to spend time with your parent to ensure they have what they need and stay safe. Elderly care providers can assist with daily activities of living, like dressing and eating. They can also offer fulfilling activities to prevent boredom, such as arts and crafts, going for walks, and other things.