It was Covid quarantine that showed me that cognitive decline had evolved into Alzheimer's.
Dementia is a progressive brain disorder that can make it hard for your loved ones to remember things, think clearly, communicate and do daily tasks. It's not uncommon for dementia patients to go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. If you suspect someone in your life has dementia, here are some signs to look out for:
Confusion about time of day or where they are
Your parents may have trouble with time and place or even the season. If they're confused about what day it is, or what time of year it is, that's a sign that their memory is declining. They might not remember where they are or how to get home from where they are. These kinds of issues can be difficult for anyone to deal with—but for someone who has dementia, it can be especially worrisome because it makes them feel disoriented and often scared as well.
Memory loss is a common symptom of dementia, and it's one of the first things to look for if you suspect your parents might have the condition. They may forget where they are, what day it is, or what they were doing. They may also forget names of family members or friends, or how to do simple tasks like cooking or driving.
Changes in personality and mood. Their personality may change dramatically, or they may be unusually withdrawn.
When you see a change in your parent’s personality, it can be hard to tell whether it’s part of the aging process or something more serious. Personality changes are often subtle and may seem like typical signs of aging, such as becoming less active or more withdrawn.
Personality changes can also be temporary or permanent, depending on the cause. If your parent develops dementia, his or her personality may permanently change in specific ways—for example, he may become furious for no reason and have difficulty controlling his anger. But not all personality changes are symptoms of dementia: Sometimes, other factors besides dementia can cause them (for example, depression).
Impaired decision making
You may notice that your parent:
Has difficulty making decisions, even simple ones like choosing what to wear or what to eat.
Cannot understand the consequences of their actions. For example, your parent might not understand that taking out a loan will result in debt.
Makes poor choices about how they spend money and manage their finances (for example, they may spend a lot of money on items that aren't necessary)
Difficulty having a conversation
One of the most common signs of dementia is difficulty having a conversation. Some people with dementia might have trouble following what's going on in a conversation, finishing their sentences, or even remembering the names of people or places. They also might have trouble understanding what you're saying to them and finding the right words to say back.
Some people with early-stage Alzheimer's disease will get frustrated if they feel like they're not being understood by others, even though that may not be true; other times, they may hear you perfectly well but just not know how to respond appropriately. In these situations, it can help for the person speaking with your parent or loved one to repeat themselves slowly and clearly (and wait patiently while he or she processes what's been said). This may seem like an obvious step—but it can be hard when we're thinking about our own frustration levels!
Changes in personal hygiene
Please pay attention to their personal hygiene habits. It's possible that your parent is not bathing regularly, or showering at all. They may also forget how to use the toilet properly or be unable to dress themselves appropriately. These issues could be caused by a physical disability as well, so keep that in mind when you're evaluating this behavior.
Trouble finding the right word when speaking or trouble understanding speech. They may have trouble speaking words clearly as if their mouth is numb.
If you notice that your parents are having trouble finding the right word when speaking, or if they seem to be having trouble understanding speech, it could be a sign of dementia. They may have trouble speaking clearly as if their mouth is numb. They may also have trouble with pronunciation and volume control of their voice. In addition, you will have to decide if your loved one is having a comprehension issue or a hearing issue, or both. There isn't a lot of training for this, but you basically have to heighten your observations of your parents' behavior.
Going into denial about their condition
Denial is a common symptom of dementia, and it's not uncommon for people with the condition to deny that they have a problem. Denial can be a coping mechanism for a person with dementia, but it can also be harmful to them.
Some people in denial about their condition may refuse to see a doctor or get help because they think nothing is wrong with them. They might even become angry if you try to convince them otherwise, so make sure you know how best to approach this sensitive topic before bringing up your concerns with your loved one.
Suppose your parent has been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or Alzheimer's,. In that case, they may still choose not to acknowledge the diagnosis or their symptoms or limitations—for instance, by refusing medication or treatment options recommended by doctors because they don't want their friends and family members to know,, about their diagnosis. This could put both you and your parents at risk: if left untreated, MCI often progresses into Alzheimer's disease within five years; meanwhile if medication isn't taken regularly enough it could lead to serious health problems like seizures or low blood pressure (hypotension).
Trouble recognizing familiar people or surroundings. You may suspect your parent is hiding this symptom from you by pretending to recognize you or others.
Many older adults with dementia have trouble recognizing familiar people and places, even when they are right in front of them. If you suspect that your parent is hiding this symptom from you, here are some reasons why they might do it:
They may be in denial. It's common for people with Alzheimer's or other types of dementia to deny having memory problems. They may think that if they say something like "I don't remember" enough times, their brain will magically start working again (and therefore fix the problem).
They may not want to worry you. Your parent knows how much pain and frustration their illness causes in your life, so he/she doesn't want to add more stress by letting on exactly how disabled they are at this pointDisease-related coverage. This could be especially true if there's no cure or treatment available yet; then again maybe there is, but it costs thousands of dollars every month because insurance won’t pay for any therapy sessions due to a lack of Disease-related coverage for Alzheimer's Disease-related illnesses."
Dementia can be hard to spot, so we must pay attention to changes in our loved ones.
Dementia is a progressive disease that can take years to develop. It's also hard to spot because the symptoms tend to come and go. So if you suspect that your loved one has dementia, it's essential to get them checked out by a doctor.
It's also important for family members or close friends of people with dementia to watch out for signs of the disease.
As you can see, dementia is a severe condition that affects many people. If it sounds like someone you know may be developing these symptoms, take them to their doctor as soon as possible.