It's common to worry about your physical and mental health as you grow older. It's common to forget things as you grow older. It's common to grow more irritable as you grow older. There are many natural behaviors and ailments that each person notices, either in themselves or their loved one, as they mature and age. One might not be able to recall their favorite baseball player from when they were a kid or remember how many ounces are in a cup- if anyone ever really did know that, but the idea that it's odd to not remember everything is unhealthy. Life happens, priorities change, your community changes and the things you were thinking about and talking about at one time in your life might not have any mental real estate in your life today. However, there are specific indications as well as pairings of indications that lend itself to a possible answer that isn't just summed up as "getting older."
The ability to be aware of Dementia warning signs is a great benefit. Dementia is a process that can be impacted by how early, how attentive, and how cognizant you are of the diagnosis. The timing of when it's treated can help everyone involved understand what is actually happening to their loved one or have time to get to a place of better understanding it. Keep in mind, every person, family, or support system is different. One family's wishes and journey may not be a mirror reflection of the next but overall, education, time, and resources can never be negative.
A Dementia Diagnosis does not mean you have all of the symptoms or signs listed below. It does not mean that someone that can identify the following symptoms in themselves automatically has a future of a Dementia Diagnosis either. One commonality does not exclusively lead to Dementia and on the inverse, someone in the early stages could very well not have any sign of these behaviors. Only a physician would be able to definitively say that.
The following signs are some common symptoms and behaviors that people with a Dementia Diagnosis can exhibit. They are not signs attributed to "old age."
Short term memory loss. Forgetting where you just set down your keys when it's the same place you set down your keys every day.
Trouble communicating. Words won't come out no matter how much you focus or try.
Drastic personality difference. Frequent mood changes and personality characteristics that you've had for decades are varying.
Inability to perform routine tasks. You've lost your desire to keep your schedule and you realize you are forgetting hygiene or necessary routines.
Repetition of words, stories, and actions. A noticeable pattern of repeating yourself that a loved one or yourself can notice.
Loss of interest in life. You feel no interest in hobbies or the things that once brought you peace or joy.
Difficulty coping with normal changes in daily life. Finding it difficult to understand and accept small differences that have no real impact on yourself besides the fact you just don't like it- often misunderstood as a personality trait of getting older.
Falling. Your ability to maintain balance and see depth is getting foggy, leading to falling or tripping.
Confused between past and present. There is a frequent amount of time-hopping in your brain and you cannot distinguish it without a loved one reminding you.
Unable to recognize friends and family. Not being able to recognize your loved ones when they haven't drastically altered their appearance.
These are the warning signs of Dementia. These are not meant to make someone feel worried or make someone believe they are someone living with Dementia. These are common behaviors found in people living with a Dementia Diagnosis and are meant to serve as peace of mind to those either wanting to learn more for whatever or whoever the reason may be. It never hurts to have a better understanding of something and encourage others to so as well.
If you would like to talk with a Dementia Care Specialist about how to learn more about the Dementia Journey or seek guidance on how to care and support a loved one living with Dementia, head to trublucares.org to make an appointment. Trublu wants to enable everyone in the Dementia Journey to live the highest quality and most sincere quality of life possible.
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