Living with a chronic, debilitating illness, or with a loved one who suffers from one, is a challenge difficult to understand by anyone who has not experienced it. Alzheimer’s, a brain disease that causes a steady decline in reasoning and memory faculties, can be especially trying, as a lifetime of memories slowly fades away to be replaced by confusion or Dementia. Watching someone you love experience this kind of trauma brings about a sense of helplessness that is truly painful to endure.
While there is no cure for Dementia or Alzheimer’s, if you, or someone you love, are at risk of developing this disease, early detection can go a long way towards effective treatment. There are some more common, early-warning symptoms that you can be on the lookout for.
One symptom most commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease is memory loss. While memory loss, in general, is something that happens to many people as they reach their twilight years, memory decline related to Dementia and Alzheimer’s is normally much more pronounced.
Short term memory loss is the primary area of thinking impacted by the onset of Dementia. Someone with Dementia-related memory loss may be adept at recalling things far in the past, but little luck in short-term memory like remembering what they had for dinner the night before. Specific dates are also frequently forgotten, and the same questions may be asked over and over again. More and more dependency on notes or electronic devices may develop in order to address the inability to handle even the most common of memory tasks. As the illness become more pronounced, dementia sufferers may lose track of the time period completely.
Familiar and well-loved activities may also fall prey to the talons of Dementia-related memory loss, such as the rules to a favorite game or the lyrics to a cherished song. Even the route to a local gas station or grocery store may be forgotten in the face of Dementia.
Changes in Mental Capabilities
The memory, unfortunately, is not the only target for developing Dementia. The actual reasoning and problem solving skills that help us throughout the day are also prime targets, so much so that even the most basic of tasks can be a trial. The capability to work with numbers, given all the specific values and rules normally used when you do, is especially vulnerable to the point where even simple arithmetic can exceed the sufferer’s capabilities.
With the declines seen in these areas comes a reduced capacity to concentrate, the combination of physical deterioration and increased frustration from these symptoms causing familiar chores or activities to take much longer than usual to complete. Many times something important will be misplaced or lost, and the Dementia will make it impossible to retrace your steps to recover it.
Mood or Personality Differences
If a normally calm or demure individual starts to become prone to outbursts of emotion, Dementia may be its source. While watching someone we love experience these changes may be difficult, it is by no means comparable to actually living it. All of these changes can provoke feelings of confusion, fear and depression that are just as important to understand and address as any other part of the Dementia-related process. Patience and an ability to empathize are key tools when helping curb these feelings from becoming advanced problems on their own.
Because it is difficult to share these feelings, both because of the Dementia itself and it may be considered embarrassing, withdrawal might seem the only real avenue open to them. While being alone may not be the prime setting to handle these symptoms, not having to feel so vulnerable around others may make it the only recourse possible. A prime warning sign for Dementia is someone who usually enjoys activities and excursions, all of a sudden wanting to be alone primarily.
Visual and Vocal Changes
The failure to clearly understand images or how objects spatially relate to each other is another key indicator that Dementia may be on its way. Judging distance, differentiating different colors or contrasts, and even reading itself, can all become much more challenging than ever before. This can, in turn, affect different, more involved daily functions, such as driving.
Difficulty with concentration, lowered mental capabilities, and memory problems are commonly associated with Dementia and can affect how adept at social situations a person is. Someone suffering from the early effects of Dementia may have difficult following a conversation, or pronouncing new or difficult words. At times, they may stop in the middle of a sentence without the knowledge of what point they were trying to make or even repeat things over and over. Familiar objects may accidentally be called by the wrong name, or even a general breakdown of speech capabilities may be seen in more advanced cases.
Many of the aforementioned symptoms can easily affect how well a person takes care of themselves, as well as how well they handle run-of-the-mill judgment calls. Finances is a prime area for this particular symptom, with many spending excess money on things they don’t need or giving away money to questionable causes. As a result, less attention is paid to personal health, well being, and even hygiene. To help with these particular areas, an organization that provides non-medical home care may be the best option to supporting an individual with safely completing their activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing and getting dressed.
Contact Comfort Home Care to Learn More
While Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia are very serious illnesses, they do not have to mean the end of a meaningful and fulfilling life in any way whatsoever. By identifying these symptoms early, and understanding all of the treatment options currently available and being developed, Dementia can be met head on and prevented from being a major impediment on you and your loved one’s happiness and quality-of-life.
For more information on what professional non-medical in-home support could do for you or your loved one showing signs of Dementia, give Comfort Home Care a call or contact us online today to schedule a complementary care evaluation in your home.