When you’re over a certain age forgetting things suddenly becomes scary.
You or a family member may wonder if it’s just being distracted . . .or if it’s something more serious.
And when you get really concerned you probably look to professionals for help. Just like “Tom” and “Irene” (not their real names) . . .
Tom and Irene were high school sweethearts.
They married shortly after high school. Throughout their marriage they remained committed to each other.
When they were both in their 70s, Tom first brought Irene to see me. Tom was concerned about her confusion.
The two of them were still very much in love.
Tom spent a lifetime protecting and providing for Irene. He would not allow anything to prevent that.
He still maintained old-fashioned gentlemanly gestures. Holding Irene’s coat while we talked . . .making sure she was comfortably seated before sitting
himself . . .among other loving gestures.
It was easy to see how deeply they cared for each other.
Tom noted he was concerned about Irene’s forgetfulness. With time, he took over more of the chores and duties at home, without complaint or hesitation.
When asked if it bothered him, he’d only say Irene cared for him for many years and now it was his turn. His marriage vows of loving in sickness and in health included caring however he could.
Concerned for his wife, he wanted Irene examined.
Why? To be sure she didn’t have an easily treated medical condition.
Irene was nervous, and what would be described as pleasantly confused. If she couldn’t remember a word or an answer, she just made one up. And smiled.
She smiled a lot.
After the results of the examination and tests were in, they returned to the office.
She had a dementia, probably Alzheimer’s disease. We discussed their options. For now Tom wanted to take Irene home.
She was not difficult to care for . . .and as he said, “It’s what we do.” They wanted to keep her at home as long as possible.
And they did . . .with the help of a very supportive close-knit community and church.
Each situation is unique.
Many wonder though . . .
What are age dementia symptoms?
Five are . . .
- Memory loss.
- Language problems.
- Difficulty with routine tasks.
- Inappropriate behavior.
- Getting lost.
These are not the only age dementia symptoms, just five of them. And age related dementia is not the only cause of these problems, so they should be evaluated medically.
Okay, so just what do these mean?
Memory loss is a common symptom in age related dementia.
It is not a normal part of aging though. And memory loss does not mean the person you’re caring for has dementia.
Is the one you’re worried about forgetting things and not recalling them later? That is consistent with age related dementia.
Forgetting where you put your keys when distracted, then remembering a few minutes later does not mean you have early dementia!
Is she asking the same question over . . .and over? Patients with dementia truly don’t recall they just asked the same question a few minutes earlier. Nor do they remember the answer!
Of course if you — or someone you care for — has memory issues you should consult your — or their — personal physician or other health care professional for advice.
Language problems can be associated with age related dementia.
Is your loved one using the wrong word? For example, does she refer to her grown daughter as “the girl” instead of using her name?
Or maybe she mumbles or has slurred speech.
Is she having difficulty reading or writing?
Having difficulty doing things that should be routine.
Does she find cooking a meal or driving a car suddenly difficult or impossible?
In more advanced stages she may have problems feeding herself . . .getting
dressed . . .caring for personal hygiene including bathing . . .and a loss of mobility (walking, transferring from bed to chair, using a cane or walker) . . .and more.
Are you noticing childish behavior?
Or maybe she’s dressing inappropriately for the weather?
Getting lost easily in familiar surroundings.
Is your elderly grandmother getting lost in her own house? Or walking down the street she’s lived on for years and not finding her way home?
Or maybe she goes outside and doesn’t recognize the front of her house?
As with many medical conditions, Alzheimer’s doesn’t show the exact same symptoms in everyone. So these age dementia symptoms should be discussed with your loved one’s physician or other health care professional.
Just because someone has one or two of these symptoms doesn’t mean they have age related dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
While these are concerning, there can be other causes. Some are fairly easily treated. A physician can decide if the symptoms need further evaluation.
Are you dealing with these problems?
Or concerned your loved one may be losing her memory?
May be you want to help her show people she loves they’re special . . .or may be you and your family want to show her how special she is.
Before dementia robs her of that chance . . .
Have you heard about the “I Am A Gift To The World Challenge” created by Chief Robert TallTree and Terri Lynn TallTree?
It’s a challenge showing you how to tell people they’re important to you. Anonymously! And it can easily be used to show family and friends how much you — or your loved one — care about them.
It’s F-R-E-E — and FUN! Plus there are some great prizes available!
Just click on the image or this link for more information . . .
May you have a safe caregiving journey . . .good health . . .and happiness,
Caregiving With Purpose
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