June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, and while many of us probably prefer not to think about Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other afflictions of the brain, this is an important topic that affects millions of us each year. In fact, dementia affects 47 million people around the globe.
With such acute awareness of dementia and similar afflictions, it can be challenging for us to understand what is important or relevant, and potentially a sign of serious conditions like dementia, and what is a normal sign of aging.
Everyone is forgetful from time to time. Sometimes we forget to call someone, leave our keys on the nightstand, or can’t remember someone’s name at a party. Those forgetful moments can increase as we age, and many people refer to them as “senior moments.” With early signs of dementia and similar conditions starting as early as 15 years before diagnosis, it can be difficult to know when someone is being forgetful or if they are showing early signs of dementia.
In this blog post, we hope to provide you with an introduction and understanding of the early signs of dementia so you can make the best possible decisions for and with your loved one.
How to recognize early signs of dementia.
To determine whether a behavior or instance is simply forgetfulness or an early sign of dementia, consider the following:
Do reminders help with recollection?
Most of us are forgetful from time to time. Whether it’s an item on our to-do list, forgetting to pick up paper towels at the supermarket, or something else, these little bouts of forgetfulness are common. Often times, we get home and see our shopping list, or receive a prompt from a loved one, that causes us to have a “lightbulb” moment, where we realize our error.
If reminders help us recall the forgotten element, then it is more likely the forgetfulness is just that, a forgetful moment. If Mom cannot recall the forgotten bit even with reminders, it could be a sign of dementia.
Can your loved one recall important memories?
Memories often become less clear as we age. However, healthy brains should be able to recall a memory after some prompting. If you are trying everything possible to help Mom recall a memory, but to no avail, you may want to take your loved one to the doctor.
Is Mom forgetting the same thing repeatedly?
Learning something new often comes with bouts of forgetfulness until we “have it down.” Remembering the lyrics to a song, or learning a new name, in particular, often require a few times for us to retain the information.
But if after a few times, Mom still cannot recall a name, or another important piece of information, you may want to talk to a doctor.
How does Mom act when stressed or tired?
Everyone gets a little forgetful when we’re tired or feeling a bit stressed. But those who are suffering from the early stages of dementia react a bit differently. If Mom is suffering from the early stages of dementia, she may forget critical information like the details about close family, their address or phone number, or other important details. Mom may also act out of character or seem otherwise unstable if she is suffering from the early signs of dementia.
I recognize signs of dementia in my mother. Now what?
It’s important that with any concerns about dementia, you and your loved one visit a doctor. If Mom is diagnosed with dementia, Alzheimer’s or a similar condition, know that Magnolia Manor is here to help. Our Memory Care offering provides exceptional levels of care to patients at all stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. We also offer families education, pastoral counseling, and support groups to help with this challenging diagnosis. To learn more, contact us at 1-855-540-LIFE(5433) or through our website.