Despite how widespread dementia is, especially today with aging baby boomers, many people (including doctors) are unfamiliar with the basic signs and symptoms. It can be difficult to discern if a loved one is experiencing normal signs of aging or if they are facing something more serious. For you as a caregiver, it is extremely important to recognize dementia and to be able to differentiate among its various types. When you are knowledgeable, you can prepare yourself for what to expect as your loved one ages and how best to deal with future care.
The Ten Signs
The first step that caregivers must take when they want to learn more about dementia is to review the ten signs, as stated on the Alzheimer’s Association website, in order to correctly detect and, therefore, acquire the proper care for their loved one’s particular type of dementia.
The ten signs are as follows:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life
- Challenges in planning or solving problems
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
- Confusion with time or place
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relations
- New problems with words in speaking or writing
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
- Decreased or poor judgment
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
- Changes in mood and personality
If, as a caregiver, you have determined that your loved one may be exhibiting some of these signs, it is time to take him or her to the doctor for testing and a diagnosis. Come with a list of questions and concerns and find out as much as you can about the types of dementia. Leave with a list of signs to watch out for, possible causes, and steps that you can take to slow down the onset or worsening of symptoms.
Do Your Own Research
Because there are various types and causes of dementia, even doctors may not be able to accurately diagnose your loved ones, let alone educate you on continued care and prevention. Personalized care is important in any one’s life, and it is very helpful with dementia to impede the progression of the disease. Utilize credible resources available on the internet, subscribe to medical journals, and follow specialists to keep updated on the latest discoveries in diagnosis and prevention.
Once you, as a caregiver, become educated, it is important to educate others. The more people know about dementia, its signs and symptoms, and the medications and other treatments used, the closer we will be to finding a cure. The better people understand dementia’s many forms and stages, the more compassion caregivers can offer to their loved ones. The strength of these relationships is critical to a person’s ability to deal with the debilitating impacts of dementia.