Last week, your dad repeated the same comment multiple times throughout your visit. Yesterday, he asked you the same question three times in the same conversation. You have noticed changes in his behavior in the recent weeks but have not thought much of it until now. Could it be dementia?
You know that memory loss is one of the signs of dementia, but your dad seems okay in that area. Are there other symptoms?
As a senior living community in Powder Springs, Georgia, Silver Comet Village understands that figuring out what is causing these changes in your loved one can be scary. Dementia is sometimes hard to diagnose, so we are sharing some of the common signs of dementia to help you know when you should see your family member’s physician.
What is Dementia?
The Alzheimer’s Association defines dementia as “a general term for loss of memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life.”
The term “dementia” is used to describe a number of conditions that are caused by unusual changes to the brain. Rather than a single disease, dementia covers several conditions that lead to a decline in thinking and cognitive abilities that affect a person’s daily life.
Each type of dementia is slightly different in how the brain is affected, even though the symptoms may be similar. The common types of dementia include:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Lewy Body Dementia
- Vascular Dementia
- Frontotemporal Dementia
- Mixed Dementia
Identifying the Signs of Dementia
In the early stages, the signs of dementia may be subtle and not easily noticeable; however, as your loved one’s dementia progresses, their symptoms will have more of an effect on their daily life.
Memory loss is probably the most commonly known sign of dementia, but many people may not understand the difference between occasional forgetfulness versus memory loss caused by dementia.
It is common and normal to forget where you placed your keys or why you entered a room from time to time. What is not normal and a potential sign of dementia is when this memory loss starts to affect an individual’s daily life. If your loved one has trouble remembering recent events or repeatedly asks a question in one conversation, this may be a sign of dementia.
Confusion with Time and Place
Dementia typically affects a person’s short-term memory. With this being said, if your loved one has dementia, they may remember everything that happened in years past.
A common symptom of dementia is confusion with time and place. Because their long-term memories remain intact, individuals may think that they are living in a different year or a different place.
Difficulty with Language
We all struggle to find the right word from time to time, but we usually either think of it or replace it with something similar. Individuals with dementia may forget simple words or substitute words that do not mean what they are trying to say.
Additionally, an individual living with dementia may have trouble understanding what others around them are saying or have difficulty writing.
Changes in Personality
Because dementia causes changes to the brain, it can also affect a person’s behavior and personality. Symptoms such as depression, anxiety, paranoia, and agitation are all common among individuals with living a type of dementia.
When Should You See a Doctor?
Dementia is sometimes challenging to diagnose. Because it is a progressive disease, the signs of dementia may not be noticeable during the early stages. Additionally, other conditions have similar symptoms of dementia that can be treated and cured.
If you have been noticing any of the signs of dementia in your parent or family member, it is important to consult their physician. Getting a proper diagnosis will help you and your loved one’s care team formulate a treatment plan to address their condition.
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