Since we are all different, it is no surprise that (should we begin to experience some form of dementia) our symptoms and any changing behaviors will also vary from person to person. Noticeable dementia signs will not be the same in all people.
MEMORY AND DEMENTIA
Usually the first dementia sign that individuals and families notice are lapses in short-term memory. Perhaps you notice that your dad tells the same story during the same conversation, or your spouse forgets where she sets something down.
Struggling with words that used to come ease can be a dementia sign, along with more easily forgetting familiar names and information. So are missed appointments. If you find objects in an unusual place, such as the carton of milk in the glass cabinet, that may be a sign of dementia.
BEHAVIOR, MOOD, AND DEMENTIA
Behavior and mood changes are possible dementia signs. Some individuals who have always exhibited kind and gentle behaviors and conversation can become difficult and harsh. Some adult children of dementia sufferers report that a previously difficult parent becomes easier to be around as dementia sets in.
Adult children should discretely monitor the finances of a parent they suspect may be beginning to show dementia signs. Spending habits may drastically change, or bills and other obligations may go unpaid. Have discussions with these older family members so controls can be put into place while still allowing them their personal dignity.
DRIVING AND DEMENTIA
The driving of anyone suspected of having dementia should also be closely controlled. Previously familiar streets and neighborhoods become less so. Confusion while driving a motor vehicle can be a danger to anyone on the road.
ACTIVITIES AND DEMENTIA
As dementia progresses, activities of daily living (ADL’s) may be interrupted such as eating, bathing, and dressing appropriately. Hallucinations may occur. Sleep patterns may change drastically.
Watch for signs any “kitchen accidents” even if they have been cooking on a stove for more than six decades.
One day when I arrived unannounced, my mother tried her best to dissuade me from entering, speaking to me through the door. When I finally gained entry, I was horrified to see that she had singed most of the hair off the front of her head along with both eyebrows during a small (thankfully!) stove fire.
LATE STAGE DEMENTIA
Eventually, the dementia sufferer may become entirely dependent upon others for their daily care. They may no longer recognize their spouse, children or other familiar individuals.
Both short and long-term memory functions are terribly impacted during late stage dementia. This profound level of brain function loss invariably impacts other areas of health negatively, creating a downward spiral of increasing velocity.
Someone in America is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s every 69 seconds.