Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease currently affects over 5 million Americans over 65. It’s important to recognize the early symptoms.
Typically associated with the most common symptoms like memory loss and forgetfulness, Alzheimer’s dementia progresses from mild cognitive impairment to serious, severe cognitive impairment with loss of language and motor skills.
Other dementia impacts can vary. And, while seniors are most commonly affected, it can and does affect adults of any age.
Most Common Signs & Symptoms of Dementia
Like every health condition, dementia affects everyone differently. Symptoms can develop slowly and build progressively over time.
Some of the early warning signs and symptoms of dementia in seniors include:
- Short-term memory loss and difficulty finding the right words or phrasing
- Visible changes in mood and attitude, such as unexplained outbursts of anger
- Confusion and difficulty completing tasks
- Changes to spatial relation processing abilities, resulting in accidents or difficulty with directions, getting lost on the way to the grocery store or finding the way back home, for example
- Obsessive and repetitive behaviors tied to memory loss
- Difficulty with change or disruptions to normal patterns and routines, which can result in fear, stress, and anxiety
In some cases, seniors with dementia or Alzheimer's disease may require more care than a spouse, child, or other loved one can provide. In those cases, a doctor may recommend palliative care or other specialized medicine.
Causes & Risk Factors for Dementia
According to the Alzheimer's Association, there are a number of factors that can potentially increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and dementia:
- Family history
- Genetics and Heredity
- Race and ethnicity; Hispanic and African American adults have been found more likely to suffer from dementia and Alzheimer's disease than their Caucasian counterparts
Signs & Symptoms of Advanced Dementia
As dementia progresses, its symptoms attempt to rob the person’s quality of life and well-being. It impacts their ability to perform everyday tasks and activities they once enjoyed.
Advanced dementia can also cause psychological changes and problems such as:
- Changes in personality
- Depression and anxiety
- Inappropriate behavior
The severity and intensity of dementia symptoms vary from person to person, and, depending on their individual circumstances, many families find it difficult to offer the full range of care necessary to keep those with dementia safe and comfortable.
How to Support a Person with Dementia
In-home care and other memory care resources are available to support seniors dealing with dementia to maintain their dignity, sense of purpose and quality of life.
Sensory stimulation is one a common treatment. Using sensory stimulation therapy helps people with Alzheimer's disease. Everyday objects can trigger positive emotions and memories.
There are memory care programs designed to offer custom and individualized attention to ensure that all of your loved one's needs are met now and as their symptoms, progress and evolve.
Given the difficulties dementia and Alheimer's patients encounter in their daily lives, depression is often associated with the conditions.
Above all else, caregivers strive to ensure their loved one with dementia is healthy. Safety can become a concern, especially if mobility is reduced. Seniors with dementia need a comfortable, safe living space.
Caring for a loved one with dementia can be difficult. Caring for yourself while caring for a loved one is extremely important. If caring for an older adult becomes too difficult, there are programs and resources available to help.
Aging with Dignity
Demential and Alzheimer's disease are among the top senior health concerns. If you’d like more information on aging with dignity, you may enjoy our video series on the subject.
- Aging with Dignity: Care at Home
- Aging with Dignity: Legal and Financial Considerations
- Aging with Dignity: Responding in a Crisis
SALMON Health and Retirement offers a range of services designed to meet the needs of people living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and provide support for the entire family at every stage.
To learn more about our Tapestry Program for memory care available at SALMON Adult Day Health Centers, Whitney Place Assisted Living Residences, and Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Centers call us at 800-446-8060.