10 Warning Signs of Dementia

Welcome everybody to the Wellsprings Home Care Podcast. As usual, I’m your host Justin Currie. I am the owner and a certified Senior Care Manager here at Wellsprings Home Care. So today we’re going to jump right into the topic we have which is 10 Warning Signs of Dementia. We’re going to list out the different warning signs. We’re not going to get into a treatment and things like that. This is just an overview of some of the warning signs to watch out for.  

What is Dementia? 

Dementia is essentially an impaired thought process. There’s also a lack of decision making abilities as well as memory loss. And now according to the CDC, with individuals over the age of 65 there is 5 million seniors that currently have dementia, and by the year 2060 that number is supposed to explode to 14 million seniors with dementia. So, obviously with our baby boomer population, we have more and more seniors over the age of 65 every day, and that is going to continue to increase for quite a few decades to come. So this is going to be a major issue moving forward. 

Signs of dementia 

  1. Memory loss – This can be confusion with either short or long term memory. Any family member or any loved one that knows the individual well, they’re going to really recognize this, they’re going to notice that maybe they’re forgetting where they’re putting their keys day to day or they’re forgetting things out of the fridge and that’s more along the lines of short term. But when we get to the point of forgetting family members, friends, things like that from a long time ago, then we’re dealing with long term memory loss. 
  1. Language struggles – So that’s just a more along the lines of speech issues. They’re mixing up words or they misunderstand the meanings of words, they’re using their language incorrectly, something that’s really unusual and uncommon for them. 
  1. Familiar tasks that they’re used to doing on a daily basis, they become more difficult. – These would be things like cleaning the house, meal preparations and cooking, paying the bills – anything along those lines that you’re doing on a daily basis, and you recognize that they’re, struggling a little bit. 
  1. Lack of proper judgment – This can include things like, just general confusion, having trouble with recognition of danger. They might be having trouble with things like leaving the stove on, leaving papers or something on top of the stove. If there’s a fireplace, leaving that on, leaving candles out overnight, anything that they’re just not totally recognizing as a dangerous situation. And another one as far as lack of proper judgment would be wandering. Obviously this is a very common concern with individuals with dementia. There’s people that wander out onto the street, they’ll wander onto a busy road, they’ll wander at night out of their home, so obviously this is a major safety concern 
  1. Keeping track of things just becomes more difficult as they grow a little bit older – So this would be things like just personal hygiene, let’s say like oral care, brushing your teeth daily, bathing, showering, toileting, things like that. You might have a loved one when you go over to visit, they smell a little bit ripe, you know, they’re obviously unsure of when to shower when they showered last. They have a little bit of difficulty understanding and comprehending that. And finances would be another thing that they have trouble keeping track of. If you’re a family member, you’re looking at their bank statements or you’re looking at items around the house that they’ve purchased and anything that kind of catches your eye is unusual, you should definitely investigate a little bit further into because they do get a little bit confused when it comes to that and obviously trouble with the finances can be a major problem down the road. 
  1. Mood and behavior change – if you have somebody who’s typically a very cheerful person and you know, they don’t have a lot of mood swings. When you see someone like that – having a major behavior change, maybe it’s anger or they’re getting angry at certain things that they never used to and just general agitation. Maybe you have a really good relationship with them and you have all your life, but they get really agitated with things you’re saying and things you’re doing. And a lot of people take that personally, unfortunately. And you really can’t, it is really part of the mental illness and it’s not to be taken to heart. You really have to understand the disease and know where that’s coming from. 
  1. Spatial confusion – That’s just when you don’t have a general awareness of your surroundings, you’re getting confused with things like distances. Maybe if they’re still driving, they can’t totally comprehend the clearance between two vehicles and they’re bumping into vehicles or posts any inanimate objects, anything like that can be a sign of a little bit of confusion when it comes to their surroundings. 
  1. Time and Place disorientation – That’s simply just when they’re not totally understanding of their day and night. They’re may be staying up at night, sleeping during the day, you know, they’re unsure of where they’re at. A lot of the time they could be in their living room that they’ve lived in for 50 years and they think they’re in a health care facility or a movie theater or anywhere but their home. Those are definitely good indicators you want to want to really watch out for. 
  1. Misplacing everyday items – So we, we discussed this a little bit, just things like car keys, wallets, phones, they’re just losing them on a consistent basis. You’re finding them in very strange places. You might find all wallet in the fridge or the keys down below under the sink in the cupboard – they can really kind of hide things anywhere and it’s really different with each person, but it takes somebody who knows them really well to recognize the changes that are happening throughout the stages of dementia. 
  1. No interest in social activities – You might typically have a person that’s used to going out, meeting with their friends, maybe out for lunch or maybe they’re exercising, going for a walk together, and they just seem to lose interest in that and they lose touch with their friends or with their family and they just sort of lack interest. That’s another thing that’s along the lines of you’re a family member or a friend that knows them really well, you’re going to really recognize they want to stop hanging out. They don’t want to be really a part of anyone else’s life anymore. So you’ll recognize that and that’s another sign to watch out for. 

So all in all, those are the 10 warning signs of dementia. There’s a lot of other little indicators. There’s different ways to treat dementia – we’ll get into that in a different podcast but as for right now, that’s all we have for you today and we really appreciate you stopping by and we’ll see you again soon. Thanks a lot. 

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