We often associate forgetfulness as something that comes with age, which is understandable. But in some cases, especially in old people (and increasingly today, even young people), forgetfulness may indicate the start of a downward spiral known as dementia.
Watch out for red flags
Memory loss is the most common symptom of dementia. But there are other symptoms to watch out for. These include:
– Memory loss
– Language difficulty
– Impaired thinking and judgment
– Inability to plan and complete complex tasks
– Changes in personality
– Inappropriate behaviour
– Agitation and paranoia
As symptoms of dementia may overlap with other conditions, brain scans are the only way to get an accurate diagnosis.
Be prepared for more than just a dementia diagnosis. Patients suffering from dementia commonly suffer from other conditions such as anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, stroke and Parkinson’s disease.
The road ahead
There is medication available to slow down the progress or reduce the development of symptoms but there is no complete cure for dementia.
As dementia advances, patients will eventually lose control of their brain functions. Along the way, they will slowly lose control over their movements and communication becomes harder. Until then, it is important to engage patients in physical exercises to improve strength and stamina. It is also important to always engage them in thinking activities to constantly stimulate their minds.
Establishing a daily routine is crucial in the care of dementia patients.
Be on the lookout
More often than not, patients with dementia are unaware of the condition so observations from family members and close ones are extremely important in early diagnosis of the condition. Never belittle the unusual gradual changes because they may be a sign!
Patients with dementia will require special caregiving because it’s as if they return to the infant stage where the parents have to handhold them through everything. If you know all the effort required to look after a young child, you probably can estimate the scale we’re talking about here.
If you know of someone who might be a case of dementia, it’s better to go for a brain scan ahead of time! There is always a lot to be prepared for when a family member has dementia so an early diagnosis will give you enough time to deal with the transition.
On the flipside, if results come back negative, at least you would get some peace of mind!