9 Signs of Dementia You Need to Track With Your Senior Parent
If you are the adult child of a senior parent who may be exhibiting what you think are signs of dementia, you need to understand that there are some symptoms of the condition that need to be monitored over time. Monitoring these symptoms is necessary to track the progress of the condition. There are nine primary signs of dementia that you need to track with your senior parent:
- Difficulty remembering
- Trouble finding words
- Inability to learn something new
- Struggle to manage finances
- Inability to keep track of time
- Poor judgment
- Difficulty remembering commitments
- Loss of interest in favorite activities
Memory loss can be one of the first signs of dementia, a broad term used to describe a wide range of symptoms associated with the decline in cognitive function. This can include difficulty concentrating, difficulty with problem-solving and planning activities, difficulty understanding complex concepts, and – most notably – difficulty remembering events, conversations, names, and locations.
Trouble Finding Words
Another of the earliest warning signs of dementia can be difficult finding words or expressing ideas. This type of symptom, known as language dysfunction or aphasia, can indicate that someone’s cognitive abilities are declining.
The first step in determining whether someone is experiencing this form of language dysfunction is to perform a comprehensive evaluation by a qualified professional. A detailed history and physical examination are necessary to obtain an accurate diagnosis.
Inability to Learn Something New
Yet another indicator that is a sign of dementia that needs to be tracked is an apparent inability by your senior parent to learn anything new. People with dementia can find it challenging to absorb anything that requires them to process or retain new ideas or concepts. This can manifest itself in many ways, such as being unable to learn how to use a computer, having trouble finding their way around unfamiliar places, or forgetting skills they previously had mastered.
What’s more, those who are affected by dementia can find it difficult to develop any new skills or hobbies due to their cognitive impairment and reduced mental capacity. New activities like playing an instrument, gardening, cooking recipes, or learning a language may seem impossible because dementia causes problems forming memories and understanding complex information.
Moreover, even if someone with dementia tries to learn something new, they may quickly forget it because of difficulty retaining it over time. Memory lapses due to short-term memory deficits impede the person’s chances of successfully mastering something new.
Struggle to Manage Finances
As dementia progresses, people may struggle to manage their finances. This can lead to various issues, from missing bill payments to being taken advantage of financially by others. The signs that an individual with dementia has difficulty managing their money typically become more evident as the condition progresses.
One of the earliest signs of difficulty managing finances associated with dementia is a lack of understanding of how money works. This could include having trouble understanding banking terms and concepts such as interest rates or not being able to keep track of their spending and budgeting accurately. Additionally, an individual with dementia might forget about paying bills or writing checks for debts such as mortgages or loans.
Other indications that someone might struggle to manage finances due to dementia include displaying confusion when using cash or credit cards, making errors when withdrawing money from the bank, and accidentally giving away large sums of money without fully understanding the consequences. As dementia progresses, it can be difficult for individuals to remember important financial dates and deadlines, such as tax returns or utility bills which can have serious consequences if left unresolved.
Individuals with dementia may also struggle to understand the value of goods and services and may forget when they have already made a purchase. This can lead them to make multiple purchases for an item they own or overspend on things due to poor judgmental skills caused by the condition’s progression.
Inability to Keep Track of Time
A primary sign of dementia is an inability to keep track of time. This can be a red flag if your senior parent regularly forgets the day, month, year, holidays, or other important dates. Write down what they forget and how often the lapses occur as part of your efforts to track these signs and symptoms of dementia.
A symptom of advancing dementia is the demonstrable poor judgment by an aging parent. Poor judgment is an important sign of dementia, a debilitating and progressive brain disorder that can dramatically impact a person’s life. It has long been known that those with dementia are at risk for compromised cognitive functioning and memory loss. Still, recent research has also considered the issue of poor judgment as a key indicator of this condition.
The first and most obvious sign of dementia-related poor judgment is impaired decision-making ability. People with dementia may struggle to make decisions, no matter how simple the decision may be. This can lead to problems such as inappropriate purchases or investments, wrong choices about medical care, and dangerous behaviors like driving when it’s unsafe.
In addition to affecting decision-making capacity, dementia can also cause difficulty understanding appropriate behavior in different situations. People who suffer from this condition may struggle to recognize when they should or should not speak up in social settings or fail to comprehend the consequences of their actions. This can result in embarrassing or dangerous situations due to inappropriate remarks or behaviors.
Another common symptom of those with dementia is a lack of insight into their cognitive deficits. While they may be able to recognize other people’s mental impairments, they often fail to acknowledge their difficulties with memory recall or problem-solving ability. As a result, they may overestimate their abilities and take on tasks far beyond what they can complete safely and correctly.
Difficulty Remembering Commitments
When it comes to the symptoms of dementia that need to be tracked, difficulty remembering commitments is on the list of the nine most significant signs. These difficulties in remembering commitments include medical appointments, social appointments, and similar activities.
Loss of Interest in Favorite Activities
Loss of interest in favorite activities is one of the key signs of dementia, particularly as dementia progresses. It can be one of the first signs of a person’s cognitive decline, so it’s important to be aware of it.
When someone with dementia starts to lose interest in activities they once enjoyed, it could mean their cognitive functioning is declining. This decline can come on gradually and may not always be noticeable at first glance. In some cases, people may take on new hobbies or interests that more closely reflect their current level of mental functioning.
Repetition is a common symptom of dementia in seniors and can significantly impact their quality of life. It can manifest itself in many ways, from repeating the same questions or phrases repeatedly to getting stuck in a loop when performing daily activities like brushing teeth or folding laundry. Repetition can be caused by several factors, including decreased cognitive function due to aging and neurological changes associated with dementia.
The most common type of repetition in older adults is verbal perseveration. This occurs when an individual gets stuck on one word or phrase they are trying to say and keeps repeating it over and over again without being able to move past it. In some cases, they may also repeat words they’ve heard someone else say, even if those words are irrelevant to the conversation. Verbal perseveration is often accompanied by physical signs like pacing or head nodding as the person attempts to finish their thought.
In addition to verbal repetition, older adults may experience repetitive behavior such as handwashing, dressing, undressing, or checking locks multiple times throughout the day. These behaviors can be difficult for family members to witness as they are helplessly unable to stop them from happening. While these behaviors may seem harmless at first glance, they can disrupt daily routines and interfere with social activities if left unchecked.
In conclusion, early intervention when it comes to slowing down the progression of dementia is crucial as it allows individuals affected by this condition time needed for treatments, such as medications or therapies, like art and music therapy, and lifestyle changes like improved sleep and regular exercise, etc., which will all contribute towards improving quality of life over time, while allowing family members valuable time spent being able to understand better how best they can provide support for their loved ones living with this debilitating condition.