Grandma has dementia.
She is shuffling around the kitchen preparing breakfast. The eggs are on the pan, but you notice the flame is off.
Grandma returned thirty-minutes late from her morning walk around the block. She reported that she lost her sense of direction and ended up by the highway.
Grandma didn’t call you today because she couldn’t remember your phone number, which she has been calling for the last twenty years.
When dementia strikes, these are common occurrences. Unfortunately, dementia is progressive, and only gets worse with the passage of time. While dementia can strike individuals in their 30, 40s, and 50s, it commonly affects older adults over age 65.
Dementia is defined as a group of symptoms that negatively affect one’s cognitive functioning, including one’s ability to think, to remember, and to reason. It is caused by a variety of diseases including:
Lewy Body Dementia
Dementia symptoms are varied depending on the underlying cause and can resemble the symptoms of depression, nutritional deficiencies, side-effects from medications, fatigue, and emotional distress. If you suspect that you or a loved one may be facing this challenge, it’s important to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Below are five common symptoms associated with the disease:
Short-term memory changes
Your grandma may be able to remember events from forty-years ago but may not remember whose birthday party she went to last night. She might struggle to remember where she left her purse, what activity she scheduled for the day, and why she has entered a particular room.
Grandma may not remember a word to communicate a thought or she might substitute another, inappropriate word, making functional conversations more challenging.
Difficulty completing normal tasks
Completing common tasks once second nature may become increasingly challenging for someone with dementia. Learning new tasks may also become a struggle.
Spatial orientation starts to deteriorate with the onset of dementia. It becomes increasingly difficult to locate once familiar settings and to follow a set of instructions.
Dementia can affect a person’s sense of reason and judgment resulting in bad decisions. As a result, those with dementia are more vulnerable to scams, and may overpay for products or purchase unnecessary items.
When grandma or another loved one has dementia, it can be emotionally and physically challenging for the caregiver. It’s essential to have the right medical support and framework in order to control the symptoms and to maintain a safe environment.