Attention Senior Caregivers: Can You Identify the Symptoms of Dementia?

Healthcare professionals agree: symptoms of dementia are determined by the root cause of the disease, along with the specific area of the brain being affected. Despite the fact dementia comes in various forms, each type shares a common group of symptoms.

Symptoms of Dementia Among Seniors

  • Memory loss is normally the first and most noticeable symptom
  • An inability to recognize people and places previously familiar
  • Unable to recall recent events
  • Difficulties holding a conversation
  • An inability to plan and perform daily tasks
  • Lapse in judgment or safety protocols
  • Fluctuating moods or behaviors. Depression is common, and agitation or aggression may occur.
  • Lack of personal care, cleanliness, and grooming

Depending on the specific type of dementia a senior loved one has, in-home caregivers will likely see these particular symptoms:

  • Lewy Bodies: In addition to frequent falls, seniors also see very detailed hallucinations with Lewy Bodies
  • Frontotemporal Dementia: Personality changes or unusual behaviors are present with this form of dementia. Results leave seniors expressionless and incapable of showing empathy. Additional symptoms come in the form of rude or aggressive comments.
  • Vascular Dementia: Symptoms are brought on by a series of strokes that appear suddenly, progressing step by step. Seniors notice a marked decline in memory and mental function with every subsequent stroke. Symptoms among older adults ultimately depend on the location of the brain damage caused by the strokes. Vascular dementia is often associated with hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) caused by high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes.

False Alarms
The diagnosis of dementia is often presumed in the face of sporadic memory loss. However, it’s important to understand a little forgetfulness can be caused by other conditions. For example, seniors requiring elder care commonly develop depression, which is known to cause memory loss. Depression can be treated with medications and therapy, but the same cannot be said of dementia.

For senior caregivers worrying about dementia among elderly loved ones, or notice progressing memory loss, it’s time to schedule a visit with the family physician. When it comes to dementia, it pays to be proactive.

Image Credit- http://www.nuffieldbioethics.org/sites/default/files/images/chipshop%2026.jpg

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