The early signs of dementia are often subtle and can mimic other health conditions. If you notice any of the following warning signs in your senior loved one, encourage him or her to consult a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis. While there’s no cure for dementia, early treatment can slow the progression of the disease.
1. Frequent Falls
Dementia can affect visual-spatial skills, which can cause seniors to misinterpret what they see and misjudge distances and changes in elevation. A decrease in reasoning skills can also make it difficult to identify when a situation may be dangerous, leading to more frequent falls.
Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality home care service. Trust Home Care Assistance to help your elderly loved one age in place safely and comfortably.
2. Compulsive or Ritualistic Behavior
The short-term memory loss and behavioral changes associated with early dementia can lead to repetitive behavior. Your loved one may ask a question again and again even after being given the answer, or he or she may repeat a task several times. In extreme cases, dementia can even lead to hoarding.
3. Difficulty with Language
Language is often one of the first skills affected by dementia. While most people occasionally have difficulty finding the correct word, those in the early stages of dementia frequently forget simple words and have difficulty expressing themselves. Handwriting may also deteriorate as the brain slowly forgets how to perform the physical task of putting pen to paper.
4. Problems with Abstract Thinking
Difficulty performing tasks with multiple steps or following detailed instructions often arises early in seniors with dementia. These problems should not be dismissed as mere “senior moments.” For instance, you may notice your mother suddenly having difficulty following a recipe even though she has always been an avid cook, or your father may be unable to balance a checkbook despite having always handled the family finances.
Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. Oakville, ON, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.
5. Changes in Mood
In the earliest stages of dementia, your loved one may start to act in ways that deviate significantly from his or her normal personality. The frustration and fear caused by the inability to recall information can lead to outbursts of anger. You loved one may also go from happy and calm to angry or sad within a few minutes.
6. Inability to Follow Story Lines or Conversations
A decrease in short-term memory and the ability to interpret and analyze language can make it difficult for your loved one to follow a conversation or the plot of his or her favorite television show. You may notice your loved one becoming more reluctant to join in a conversation or talk on the phone. It’s also common for seniors with dementia to make jokes about their mistakes as a way to conceal their confusion.
7. Loss of Empathy
Dementia often affects the ability to exercise cognitive empathy, which tells people what’s appropriate to say or do in certain circumstances. You may notice your loved one starting to say things that are embarrassing or even hurtful. It’s important to remember this lack of empathy isn’t a reflection of your loved one’s true feelings but rather a symptom of the disease.
Confusion and memory loss can cause seniors with early-stage dementia to lose interest in their normal activities and hobbies. They often become reluctant to leave their homes and spend excessive time sleeping. They may also appear emotionally numb when engaging with friends and family.
If your loved one has dementia or another age-related condition, consider hiring a professional caregiver. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional home care. Oakville, ON, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity. To schedule a free in-home consultation, call us at (905) 337-1200 today.