Recognizing the Warning Signs of Dementia
If you’re going to recognize dementia, you’ll need to know a bit about the condition first. Defining what dementia is provides a good starting point. From there, it helps to discover the common causes of dementia. Then, you’re ready to explore the warning signs of dementia.
Defining What Dementia Is
As WebMD explains, dementia isn’t actually a disease. Instead, it’s a term used for a group of diseases or conditions that produce similar symptoms. These symptoms generally include issues with confusion, memory loss, and struggles with problem-solving abilities and language skills. Notably, occasional or minor struggles aren’t dementia. The key thing to remember is that the issues are severe enough to impact the person’s ability to function successfully during their everyday life.
Discovering the Common Causes of Dementia
The Mayo Clinic separates the common causes of dementia into two categories. The first grouping is progressive dementias, or dementias that cannot be reversed. This group includes Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, frontopolar dementia, and mixed dementia.
The second group of dementia causes may reverse with proper treatment. In many cases, prompt treatment can improve results, so identifying the problem quickly brings real benefits. The potential causes found in this group include the following:
- Immune disorders
- Medication side effects
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Brain bleeds
Exploring the Warning Signs of Dementia
Recognizing the red flags for dementia can help you seek treatment, and identifying the problem early gives you and your family time to consider options and plan ahead. Medical News Today offers a list of signs to watch out for:
- Troubles with recall. Occasional forgetfulness happens to everyone. When memory loss is marked by a struggle to recall recently learned information, an unusual reliance on memory aids, or an inability to retrieve any of the forgotten information at a later date, then there’s greater cause for concern.
- Challenges with common tasks. Everyday tasks like loading the dishwasher or working the television remote may suddenly become conundrums to people struggling with dementia.
- Trouble with language. Dementia can make people repeatedly forget what they were going to say or what others had just said. As a result, they may participate less in conversations. You may also notice changes in their written communication.
- Snags with visual info. Dementia often makes translating visual information difficult. Separating colors can be tough. Judging distances and reading may also be hard. This issue can be particularly problematic when driving because it makes trying to make sense of signage a challenge.
- Problems with planning or solving problems. People with dementia typically struggle with creating or following plans, which can make finishing tasks or solving problems tough. Even completing a family recipe or sitting down to pay bills may be impossible.
- Confusion about time and place. Dementia may make people lose track of where they are, why there are there, or how they got there. It can also interfere with their sense of the passage of time.
- Issues with misplacing items. Individuals with dementia often misplace items. This can be frustrating. It can be especially problematic if it leads to accusations of theft.
- Trouble with judgment. Dementia can lead to poor decisions. People may not understand, may feel overwhelmed, may forget, or may become angry.
- Changes in personality. Dementia can cause some people to become anxious, scared, depressed, or angry. You may notice personality changes or mood swings.
- Withdrawal from society. As dementia impacts a person, they may withdraw from friends and family. You may see them stop participating in activities they previously enjoyed.
Knowledge is empowering. Learning to recognize the signs of dementia gives you a chance to seek out treatments that may reverse or slow its progress. Alternately, it buys you time to prepare. For many people dealing with dementia, memory care is a key element of their care plan. If you’re curious about what top-quality memory care looks like, reach out to the Beach House to schedule a visit.