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7 Early Dementia Behaviors You Need to Be Aware Of

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You know your senior loved one better than anyone else, especially if they are your parents. How they act on a day to day basis, their mannerisms, and their common phrases and figures of speech they use are just a few of the things that you know and love about your senior. However, when these things begin to change or you start to notice things are off, it can be concerning. This may leave you wondering: are these dementia signs? 

Here at the best memory care in Michigan, we understand your concern. That is why we have taken the time today to help outline a few dementia behaviors that you need to be aware of. Knowing these in advance could help with early detection. And the earlier dementia is diagnosed, the more manageable it is for both the senior and caregiver alike.

7 Dementia Behaviors

When talking and interacting with your senior, these are a few of the dementia signs that you should be aware of:

#1: Struggling or fumbling with the right words.

While we are all capable of forgetting the right words from time to time or struggling to recall a specific object’s name or title, if it starts to become commonplace for your senior loved one, this could be a red flag. If you find that your mom seems to start and stop her sentences, or that your grandfather can’t recall the name of a household tool he uses every day, take note. Sometimes seniors get forgetful with age, but it should not be happening on a constant basis. 

#2: Having a hard time learning something new.

Computers and new technology can be a struggle for some seniors. However, if your dad has always been really good in the kitchen but can’t figure out how to use his new blender, this might be something to be worried about. Sure, we can all feel frustrated when trying to conquer a new task or concept, but if this feels like it happens a little too frequently, this could be a warning sign of dementia

#3: Mismanaging money or losing track of funds.

If you are concerned that your senior loved one might be mismanaging their money, there are a few things you can do. The next time you are visiting your senior, keep an eye out around their home. Do you notice any late notices lying around, or anything stamped with a ‘past due’ sticker? What about their utilities, are their lights on? What about their water and gas? If you notice that some of the utilities have been cut off or there are some past due notices, this is yet another big red flag.

Pile of envelopes with overdue utility bills on the desk

#4: Forgetting appointments and losing track of time.

Forgetting one doctor’s appointment or having a friend’s dinner party slip your mind can happen to even those with the sharpest of minds. However, if you notice that your senior loved one is struggling to keep track of what day of the week it is, especially which month or year, you should be concerned. Take note of how often this happens, or if it becomes a routine thing. It could be more than just forgetfulness and instead, be an early warning sign of dementia. 

#5: Displaying poor judgment and decision making skills.

Some seniors want to walk on the wild side during retirement and check things off of their list, such as skydiving or visiting a foriegn country. While these types of activities are great, if you notice that your senior loved one is being reckless in a way that is concerning, this is something you should be aware of. For example, are they skipping out on wearing their seatbelt in the car? Are they spending high amounts of money on frivolous purchases? These behaviors could be red flags for dementia.

#6: No longer interested in activities they once enjoyed.

Does your father really love football, but can’t be bothered to flip on the game on Sunday? What about your mother, did she used to love going to book club but you haven’t seen her read in weeks? Unless your senior loved one has a physical health issue that has caused this recent change, losing interest in their favorite hobbies and activities is a behavior that can be concerning. Document this, any other red flags, right away. This information can be very valuable to share with their doctor.

#7: Repeating phrases or forgetting what they said. 

Older adults have the same stories they really love telling at parties, including grand tales about travel, meeting famous celebrities, or sharing memories of incredible achievements. While that is pretty normal, if you notice them repeating phrases or comments about the day to day, this can be concerning. For example, if they say, ‘I really like that outfit you have on today’, but they have told you that twice already, this can be worrisome. 

Start the Conversation

While these red flags can be helpful for early detection, it is important to speak with your loved one’s doctor. A licensed physician is the only one who can give a true Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis. If you have started to notice some of these red flag behaviors, start the conversation with your loved one and book an appointment for testing. Bring any notes you have along with, as this will be extremely beneficial. 

Memory Care in Michigan

Once a dementia diagnosis has been made, it can be really tough to know what the next steps are. If being the primary caregiver is not something that is feasible for you, know that it’s okay. You can still find a safe, comfortable environment for your senior to thrive in. 

Here at The Parkdale, we understand how important it is for seniors who struggle with memory loss to live in a community where they can be happy and ensure that their health and wellbeing is prioritized. Our memory care in Michigan specializes in assisting those with an Alzheimer or dementia diagnosis. Contact us today to take a tour of our community and allow us to answer any questions you may have.

Written by The Parkdale

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