When you’re a family caregiver for a senior loved one, it’s important to be familiar with symptoms of the most common conditions affecting the elderly. As dementia is particularly common memory condition affecting approximately five million seniors in the United States, being able to spot its less frequent symptoms can be helpful. To ensure that you are able to recognize some of the less well-known signs of dementia, the senior care experts at Westfield Home Care Assistance discuss four frequently overlooked symptoms of the condition.
1. Behavioral Changes
Your loved one may suddenly begin acting out of character, demonstrating less interest in things they once enjoyed or eating much more or much less than usual. Subtle behavioral changes, such as acting aggressively, are particularly common among those with early Frontotemporal dementia. These behavioral changes can be easy to dismiss as a normal part of aging, so it’s important to be vigilant to your loved one’s actions as drastic shifts in behavior are generally not normal.
2. Personality Changes
Shifts in personality can easily be overlooked as they may seem normal for the elderly or can seemingly be caused by something else. Family members may remark upon a relative’s withdrawn or suddenly apathetic personality, but attribute the shift to aging or being upset or angry because of a particular event. Likewise, depression is a very common sign of early dementia that relatives and friends may not pick up on or that may be treated without realizing that dementia is at the root of the problem.
3. Changes in Judgment
Your loved one may seem like a different person during the early stages of dementia, and he or she may demonstrate a sudden lack of judgment concerning finances or safety. Some seniors may unexpectedly spend hundreds of dollars on unnecessary items, or begin taking unsafe risks, such as walking alone at night. When this happens, living alone can become dangerous for seniors and a Westfield dementia caregiver who can stay in the home around-the-clock may become necessary to prevent wandering.
4. Forgetting Words
Forgetting a word is something that happens to people of all ages, making it easy to dismiss an incident where your loved one can’t explain what he or she is trying to say. However, frequently forgetting a commonly used word or being unable to communicate thoughts, feelings, or ideas is not normal and is usually an early sign of dementia or another cognitive condition.
If your elderly relative has dementia, the professional caregivers at Home Care Assistance can help ensure that your loved one receives the care he or she requires. Expertly trained to provide safety monitoring and medication reminders for seniors with memory conditions, as well as help with a variety of in-home tasks, including cooking, cleaning, and personal grooming, the dementia and Alzheimer’s caregivers in Westfield can help keep your loved one safe and comfortable in his or her own home. To learn more about our care services, give a dedicated Care Manager a call at 908.450.9400 and schedule a free in-home consultation.