Providing comprehensive dementia care to a loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease is a full-time job. Unfortunately, not every family is able to be present for their senior’s at-home care due to career reasons, small children and other commitments.
Working with a senior care management service is helpful when trying to determine the appropriate level of elderly care for your loved one. Before you decide on senior home care or other long-term care options, however, you must first gain an understanding of your loved one’s condition.
Friends and family members are often the first to notice that their aging loved one is demonstrating changes that may be early signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia is a disease that affects aging adults and may be caused by a number of medical conditions.
Some of the reasons elderly people display signs of dementia include:
- Peripheral vascular disease
- TIA (transient mild stroke)
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Brain trauma
- Cardiac issues
As your loved one ages, pay close attention to their cognitive function and observe whether their behavior is beginning to change. Reference these six early signs of Alzheimer’s disease if you are concerned about your senior’s mental health:
1. Increased Social Isolation
Your loved one doesn’t want anyone to know their memory is slipping, so they defer questions to family members, stop going out with friends and become reclusive.
2. Changes In Dress And Grooming
Your senior has become unkempt, wears unwashed clothes and mixes clothing that doesn’t match when they used to be fastidious about their appearance.
3. Mistakes When Taking Medication
Your loved one is unable to sustain physician’s orders when taking medication. They may not take all of their medications, become confused and take too many, or forget whether they have taken their medication that day.
4. Misplacing Belongings
Due to frustration and paranoia, your loved one may accuse people of stealing belongings they have misplaced.
5. Changes In Overall Mood
Your senior experiences angry outbursts, paranoia and suspiciousness that wasn’t prevalent previously. These changes may escalate when an individual begins to understand they are losing their memory.
6. Denying Their Condition
If a family member brings up an example of your senior’s failing memory, your senior may deny that the event happened. Your loved one may also tell their doctor everything is fine with their memory, and they may even forget to tell their doctor about physical issues such as joint pain, falls or injuries.
The first action you should take if your aging senior begins to display any of these early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease is to monitor them and do your research. Stay involved and pay close attention for additional symptoms.
Sometimes your aging senior’s friends are the best sources of information because they spend the most time with your senior. Ask your aging loved one’s friends if they have noticed any changes.
It is also wise to spend more time with your loved one if you are concerned they may be showing signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. By spending a weekend with your aging senior, you gain a better understanding of whether there is an issue.
If your loved one is experiencing any signs or symptoms associated with dementia, you should consult a physician and ask for an assessment. It is important to pay attention to subtle changes your aging senior demonstrates early on so that a doctor is able to determine the cause and recommend a plan to provide appropriate elderly care.
Ready to learn more about about caring for your aging loved one? Download this tipsheet on developing a long-term plan, and the different care options available.