Signs of Dementia

Oddly enough, one of the hardest things that people struggle with when caring for their aging loved ones is first deciding if they need help, and then asking for assistance.

Occasionally we forget where our keys are, or trying to remember why we walked in to our kitchen only to forget why we needed to go there,  or even remember a date, but when does that translate into dementia? When do you sit down and determine it’s time to look into a possible Dementia or Alzheimer’s treatment?  One of the dangers of caregiving is a misdiagnosis and perhaps trusting their loved one with a responsibility (like driving or cooking) that could result in injury. Since getting older is naturally progression, it’s anyone’s guess as to when might be the best time to look into care. Knowing what to look for is paramount in assuring your loved ones safety and making sure your loved one is being cared for properly.  Here are some brief descriptions of the various stages of dementia.

Early dementia

  • Word-finding difficulty – Might use synonyms or define the word to help
  • Difficulty performing familiar tasks – Driving, cooking, chores, managing personal finances
  • Uncharacteristic behavior, personality changes or mood swings
  • Paranoia and suspiciousness
  • Confusion or disorientation in unfamiliar surroundings

Intermediate dementia

  • Unable to carry out activities of daily living (e.g., bathing, dressing, feeding, using the toilet) without help
  • Disrupted sleep (often napping in the daytime, up at night)
  • Unable to learn new information
  • Increasing disorientation and confusion even in familiar surroundings
  • Paranoid delusions, aggressiveness, agitation, inappropriate sexual behavior
  • Hallucinations or believing they have done or experienced things that never happened
  • Inattention, poor concentration, loss of interest in the outside world

Severe dementia

  • Complete dependence on others for activities of daily living
  • May be unable to walk or move from place to place unassisted
  • Impairment of other movements such as swallowing – Increases risk of malnutrition, choking, and aspiration (inhaling foods and beverages, saliva, or mucus into lungs)
  • Complete loss of short- and long-term memory – May be unable to recognize even close relatives and friends

Cypress Homecare’s mission is to provide individualized compassionate care in the homes of people we serve by providing programs and solutions to assist families. But to do so requires that brave first step by the people that live the day to day with the people they love who are getting older. Know what to look for, and if needed, ask for help. You don’t need to walk this journey alone.  Call us today so that we may assist you in finding the right solution for your loved one.

Posted on June 29, 2011