Dementia symptoms can be subtle and difficult to recognize at first. Though most people are familiar with some of the more common symptoms of dementia, such as memory loss and confusion, there are many additional dementia-related markers which friends and family may inadvertently fail to pick up on during day-to-day interactions.
If you notice that a loved one is starting to develop some of these signs, it may be time for a medical evaluation which could lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment. Though many patients say they want to remain in independent living situations, they may require either in-home care or a move to an assisted living facility based on the severity of their symptoms.
Here are some signs that memory care may be necessary for your loved one.
1. A Tendency to Wander Away
If you notice that your loved one gets disoriented while out of the house on walks, can’t remember how to get to familiar places, or sometimes forgets where they are, it’s time to intervene. You don’t want to leave them in a situation where they’ll wander away and get lost. Someone who is experiencing these symptoms should have constant supervised care.
2. Uncharacteristic Agitation & Physical Violence
Perhaps you have a family member who is normally easy-going and mild-mannered. Suddenly, one day, the person becomes extremely aggressive, perhaps to the point of a violent outburst over a trivial incident such as someone moving a pillow to the other side of the couch or throwing away junk mail. If you notice a dramatic change in temperament or outbursts of uncontrolled anger that weren’t present in the past, consider seeking a medical diagnosis for your loved one and then hiring a qualified dementia in-home care provider.
3. Frequent Injuries or Accidents
Anyone can get into a fender-bender on the road or fall down and get a bruise on their leg. But if you notice your loved one getting injured or getting into accidents on a regular basis, this may be the result of the beginning stages of dementia. In such cases, a medical evaluation is definitely warranted.
4. Unreasonable, Childlike Attitude
When a person is starting to develop dementia, it can impact their emotional state as much as their memory. Caregiving spouses and children can get worn out trying to respond lovingly and patiently to a dementia patient who is suffering from these kinds of symptoms. Even though the caregiver understands that it’s not their loved one’s fault why they’re acting in this manner, the dementia patient’s increasing irrationality and irritability can become emotionally and even physically draining for caregiving spouses and family members. It may be time to call on professional caregiver reinforcements if family caregivers are feeling discouraged and overwhelmed.
5. Hygienic & Health Care Challenges
If your loved one is having trouble remembering to use the bathroom facilities, shower, change their clothes, exercise, eat balanced meals, or take their medications, it’s probably time to seek out professional care. If they’re left on their own, your family member could end up in a dangerous situation by forgetting to take needed medications or accidentally overdosing on prescription drugs. The same holds true for inadequate food intake and improper food storage.
If you notice any of the above symptoms in your spouse or one of your family members, contact a physician right away to have your loved one evaluated. Then, ask the physician what level of professional caregiving they would recommend. As resistant as some people are to having in-home help, it’s important to make sure your loved one is getting the kind of care they need and deserve.