The holidays are a great time for loved ones to come together and express their love and gratitude while creating memories. During these times, you often reconnect with older family members or friends that you may not see as often.
As loved ones age, their personality, behavior, and mood can change suddenly and dramatically. These changes may be a normal part of ageing due to living alone and changing interests, or they can be a sign of more serious health concerns.
If you notice your loved one has become more forgetful or confused, it can be challenging to determine if this is a normal part of the aging process or something you should take more seriously.
This season may be different from past seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You may not get to visit loved ones as closely, but signs of dementia can still stand out during phone calls, video calls, or other socially distant visits.
Continue reading to learn more about the signs of dementia, as well as how The Kensington Sierra Madre can assist you and possibly care for your senior loved one.
Signs of Dementia
The signs of dementia may be subtle or distinct, depending on how long a loved one has had dementia.
In the beginning, there may not be very many signs at all. You may notice that your older relative or friend has forgotten what they had for breakfast that morning. Or maybe, while talking on the phone, they call you by the wrong name.
When dementia first begins to set in, an older adult may have difficulty finding the correct words or may struggle to express themselves.
Their moods may also start to change, and you may notice they seem depressed. Depression is quite common in the early stages of dementia, as is a lack of empathy. If your loved one doesn’t want to be involved in the holiday festivities this year or to join in on the family Zoom, it may be something that you want to take seriously.
If an older loved one is having difficulty completing familiar tasks, like paying bills or playing their favorite card game, it could be a warning sign. You may want to spend extra time talking to them and observing them. Are they actually confused? Or are they just distracted or tired?
In the later stages of dementia, the signs may be more obvious. A senior may get lost while out shopping or forget how to get back home. They may even forget why they went to the store in the first place.
Another common sign to look for is repetition. Many seniors with dementia will ask the same question multiple times, even after it has been answered.
Discussing Dementia with Your Loved One
Talking about memory loss and the possibility of having dementia can be challenging. Your loved one may not have noticed the symptoms in themselves and they may feel a sense of anger or denial. Even if they have noticed their memory declining or their mood and behavior changing, they will likely feel alone, scared, and worried.
When discussing dementia, be sure to do this in a quiet and comfortable place, with no distractions. There are going to be a lot of feelings involved due to potential fears. The unknown can be scary, especially when an older adult knows there is a possibility that they may become more dependent on others over time.
After discussing your concerns with them in a non-threatening and caring way, let them know that you will be there for them. Suggest going to the doctor together, so that they don’t have to be alone. Making sure they don’t feel alone will help ease some of their fears and concerns.
When to Consider a Doctor Visit
After reconnecting during the holidays, you may have noticed changes in your loved one’s behavior that are causing you to worry about them. Their memory has declined, they are forgetful, depressed, have difficulty expressing themselves, or following a storyline. Daily tasks are becoming harder for them, and you are concerned that they will hurt themselves or get lost.
Could these be signs of dementia? All of these are reasons to help your loved one reach out to their physician.
This is also an important step because there could be another medical cause for their behavior, such as a different illness or issues with medications. It’s important to discover and treat the issues directly. Either way, a visit to the doctor will give you and your loved one peace of mind.
If your loved one is diagnosed with dementia, you will want them to receive proper care. While there is no cure for dementia, memory care is essential to maintain a high quality of life.
Memory care is just one of the many services that The Kensington Sierra Madre offers its dementia residents. We do everything we can to make our residents feel loved, purposeful, and part of a community. We have a specialized memory care team and offer psychological and psychiatric services, as well as spiritual and emotional support.
If you have questions regarding dementia care or you are interested in learning about the two neighborhoods that The Kensington Sierra Madre has for their dementia residents, please contact us today.
To learn more about our exceptional assisted living and memory care at The Kensington Sierra Madre, click below or give us a call today for any questions. We promise to love and care for your family, as we do our own.