Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a general sense of memory loss and decrease in decision-making skills that interferes with day-to-day life. It is a disease that affects the ability to process thought, and worsens over time. Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common cause of dementia, with 60 to 80% of all dementia cases stemming from it. Dementia can also affect an individual’s behavior and in severe cases, could change their entire personality. Catching dementia in the early stages can help you and your senior prepare for what’s to come, and possibly allow for some treatment.
There are many symptoms of dementia since it is a broad term. The most common symptom, however, is memory loss. In early cases, individuals will suffer from short-term memory loss while still remembering past events from years prior.
Other common symptoms include having difficulties with communicating, attention, and problem solving. If your senior isn’t able to independently complete daily tasks or is getting lost while driving in familiar places, they might have dementia.
In most cases, dementia worsens with time. If you suspect your senior has dementia, do not wait to see a doctor. Early diagnosis will make it easier for your senior to understand what is happening and elder caregivers will be able to care for your senior more effectively if they know in the early stages.
Normal Memory Loss vs. Dementia
Some memory loss is normal with aging. Not all memory loss is a sign of dementia, but if there is consistent memory loss, it should be monitored closely.
Normal memory loss usually just includes recent events, while the long-term memories remain intact. An example of normal memory loss associated with aging might be forgetting a word, but then remembering it later.
If your senior has dementia, their memory loss will be more extreme — such as forgetting knowledge they have known all their life — and can prevent them from performing normal, daily tasks. If your senior cannot remember old memories or events from their long-term memory, they might have dementia. In more extreme cases, they might forget the name of a family member or somebody close to them. This is a big indication of dementia and should be taken very seriously.
Some illnesses can cause dementia symptoms, like repeated head trauma, and in these cases there are some treatment options available. In all cases, any signs of extreme memory loss or other dementia symptoms should be taken seriously and looked at as soon as possible.
Elder care will help provide the support your senior needs during these difficult times, and provide care before, during or after a dementia diagnosis. Elder care can help with cooking, cleaning, and other tasks around the home. Call us today and see how you or your senior may benefit from elder care!