Is This Dementia? 5 Early Warning Signs to Help Determine
Colorado residents who care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia are a fast growing part of our population. In fact, Colorado is expected to be one of the top five states with the most growth in persons living with Alzheimer’s disease http://www.alz.org/downloads/facts_figures_2012.pdf by 2025.
For caregivers, knowing if changes they see in a loved one are a natural part of the aging process or something more serious can be difficult to determine.
Geriatric Care Manager, Kirsten Hartman works with families in Larimer, Loveland, Greeley, and Fort Collins every day. When it comes to understanding the differences between normal aging and dementia, she offers the following advice:
1. Memory Loss. We all forget things. If your aging loved one seems to be more forgetful than most of us, think about what they are forgetting. Is it appointments and activities or faces and names? Not remembering people they have known for a long time can indicate a more serious problem. If they forgot about appointments they made or events they were supposed to attend, do they remember them later? If it is dementia, they likely do not remember at all.
2. Losing Things. Keys, glasses and cell phones are hard for many people to keep track of at any age. We can usually find them by retracing our path that day. For those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, however, finding things they’ve lost becomes difficult because they aren’t able to recreate what they did that day.
3. A Change in Personality. People in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease often realize something is wrong. They aren’t sure what it is, but is often causes them to be fearful. They may become withdrawn and irritable. A typically gregarious person may now be difficult and not want to be around other people. Most experts believe it is because they aren’t sure what is happening to them.
4. Getting Lost in Familiar Places. This is probably the classic behavior we’ve all heard about. An older person goes out to make a stop at the grocery store and becomes lost on their way home. An older adult in the beginning stages of dementia may forget where they are or how to get home. They may have trouble even remembering what day it is.
5. Change in Judgment. Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can impair a person’s ability to make good decisions. Even in the early stages of the disease. This makes them easy prey for scam artists and fraud. Especially by telephone. If your loved one receives a lot of telemarketing calls or seems to be on the phone with strangers a lot, it is probably something you need to investigate more.
Do you have a loved one living with dementia? What was the first signal you had that there was a problem?
From personal care needs and case management to guardianship concerns, Seniors in Transition provides consulting services to help families turn frustrating health care problems into quality, affordable solutions. Kirsten Hartman with Seniors in Transition is here to help families in the Fort Collins, CO and Loveland, CO areas. Visit our website at www.seniorsintrans.com or call 970.204.6977, today.
September 14, 2013
7:30 am check in / 9:00 am 5K Walk
Contact: Melinda Brown 970-472-9798
Walk as a Team, or Walk as an Individual
**Because of the flood and weather the Fort Collins Walk has been postponed
please check back for updates alz.org/co
Other walks coming up:
Greeley 9/21/2013 or Denver 9/21/2013