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How Do I Know If My Mom Has Dementia

Get Dementia Elderly Care When Necessary

Early onset vascular dementia – A daughter’s perspective – My mum has dementia

We mentioned that scheduling me-time and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are two ways to handle the stresses of caregiving. But with all the demands of looking after a loved one, how do you possibly make those items a reality?

Hiring respite caregivers can help when caring for a dementia parent at home.

Respite caregivers enter into you or your loved ones home for a few hours a couple of times a week. They have training in skills specific to taking care of elderly adults with dementia.

While the caregiver looks after your loved one, youll have free time to take care of yourself and rest before jumping back into caregiving.

Now that you know how to personally cope with a parent with dementia, lets look at how to practically care for a parent with dementia.

Importance Of Advance Care Planning For People With Dementia And Their Caregivers

Someone newly diagnosed with dementia might not be able to imagine the later stages of the disease. But when a person is first diagnosed with Alzheimers or another dementia, its important to make plans for the end of life before the person with the disease can no longer complete advance directives and other important legal documents. End-of-life care decisions are more complicated for caregivers if the dying person has not expressed the kind of care they would prefer.

Document And Share Dementia Behaviors With A Doctor

Track signs of dementia using your phone or a journal. Its important to share specific examples with a doctor.

If youre worried about upsetting a loved one, submit your observations to their physician privately in writing. Keep in mind that HIPAA authorization is not needed for you to share concerns with a parents health professional.

Include details about:

  • When you first noticed dementia behavior
  • Specific dementia symptoms your parents show
  • How often they struggle and when it happens
  • Changes in their normal routine or behavior

Also Check: Where Is The Camel Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimers Related Myths And Misconceptions

  • My Mom doesnt have Alzheimers. Its just a little bit of dementia. She may not have Alzheimers, but this statement typically results from a confusion in terms. Alzheimers is just a type of dementia and has various stages. Dementia is not a more mild form or normal part of aging. This often indicates the family has noticed signs, but a medical professional hasnt given a diagnosis.
  • Its just old age. Dementia is a normal part of aging. Alzheimers and these other causes of dementia are diseases, not normal brain aging. We will share how to distinguish normal aging from dementia below. However, this myth has some basis in reality since occurrence increases with age . Additionally, there are some reversible conditions that cause similar symptoms to Alzheimers so its important to get a diagnostic workup.
  • Some other common misconceptions revolve around causes, prevention and cures. You can read more from the Alzheimers Association. As far as prevention goes, theres little proof for specific vitamins or supplements. But, overall nervous system/cardiovascular health is important, so keep your brain healthy with a balanced diet and exercise. We also researched The Best Brain Boosting Hobbies. Heredity does play a role, but only a small percentage is familial Alzheimers. So, it is not automatically true that you will develop the disease if your loved one had it.

    After The Alzheimers Diagnosis: Planning

    What To Do After You Find Out Your Loved One Has Dementia · Artsy ...

    Understanding that Mom has Alzheimers is also important for planning purposes. Because this is a progressive disease, your family needs to be prepared for what lies ahead. Some key to dos:

  • Advanced care planning: execute legal documents such as a healthcare surrogate designation, durable power of attorney and living will. Make sure providers and family members have copies accessible. Discuss wishes and different scenarios.
  • Make sure estate planning is up-to-date.
  • Organize paperwork and financial records. Simplify finances where possible and make plans for oversight since handling finances often becomes tricky.
  • Medical coordination: organize medical records, centralize contact information for providers and stay on top of preventative care. Consider attending appointments with your loved one or hiring a care manager to do so. Staying as healthy as possible can keep Mom independent longer. A medical crisis usually exacerbates cognitive issues.
  • Meet with a care manager for a comprehensive assessment. If you feel overwhelmed, wed suggest this as the first step. The care manager can outline the priorities and help you complete tasks. They can even recommend help for the areas above, pull together medical records, etc. The assessment will also include a home evaluation so you can ensure the environment is safe.
  • Bonus: Join the for support, tips and conversation with others who understand.
  • Recommended Reading: What Are The Three Stages Of Alzheimer’s Disease

    Where To Get Help

    • Your local community health centre
    • National Dementia Helpline Dementia Australia Tel. 1800 100 500
    • Aged Care Assessment Services Tel. 1300 135 090
    • My Aged Care 1800 200 422
    • Cognitive Dementia and Memory Service clinics Tel. 1300 135 090
    • Carers Victoria Tel. 1800 242 636
    • Commonwealth Carelink and Respite Centres Australian Government Tel. 1800 052 222
    • Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service Tel. 1800 699 799 for 24-hour telephone advice for carers and care workers

    Is Repeating Yourself A Sign Of Dementia

    What does it mean when a person keeps repeating themselves? It may be a sign of dementia, though it hinges significantly on the context of the situation.

    When were talking about a senior who repeats the same stories at family gatherings, thats probably not a sign of dementia. Rather, its the seniors way of contemplating their legacy and important life lessons through the sharing of meaningful experiences.

    In other words, when your father tells the same WWII story every time the grandkids are gathered around the fireplace, its his way of searching his memories for meaning and sharing those life lessons to secure his legacy with future generations.

    After all, we all want to be remembered and leave a mark in the world especially with our friends and family.

    However, if a senior continues to repeat themselves in a single day perhaps telling you for the fifth time that they saw an old friend yesterday, or reminding you over and over that they have a doctors appointment tomorrow that could be a sign of short-term memory problems that may be associated with early-stage dementia.

    In such cases, its important to evaluate this potential symptom in conjunction with the other 10 signs of dementia. You cant make a diagnosis on this fact alone as memory loss is an expected part of aging and senility, but it could be an important piece of the overall puzzle.

    Also Check: What Is End Stage Dementia Like

    Create Space For Community

    Though you may not realize it, there are many people across the country, and even in your own local area, thinking, My mom has dementia and I dont know what to do!

    With many parents and caregivers navigating memory loss, building a community for yourself is keyto finding support. These supports groups can provide encouragement and inspiration during times of great distress or unknown.

    Expert Tips On How To Care For A Parent With Dementia

    Early onset vascular dementia – A daughter’s perspective – My mum has dementia (subtitled)

    Most adult children with aging parents arent sure how to take care of an elderly parent with dementia. So if youre an adult child and you find yourself needing help caring for parents at home who are suffering from memory loss, youre not alone.

    Caring for a family member with dementia at home can be both rewarding and challenging. Its rewarding because taking care of your mother or father allows you to spend quality time with them. However, dementia is a progressive disease and its symptoms get worse over time, leaving most family caregivers wondering what to do when a parent has dementia.

    Fortunately, when it comes to looking after an aging parent with dementia, many elderly care resources are available for family caregivers.

    Are you interested in learning more about how to care for a parent with dementia?

    In this article, were providing expert elder care tips to help those caring for parents at home. As you read, youll get:

    • An answer to, How can I help my mother or father with dementia?
    • Information about how to cope with a parent with dementia
    • Recommendations for where to get in-home care for seniors with dementia

    Join us for our valuable discussion about home care for elderly parents with dementia.

    Recommended Reading: Does Andrea Mitchell Have Dementia

    The Warmth Of The Human Touch

    Ever noticed how a good massage helps soothe any person, even a baby enjoys it. A gentle touch or a warm hug can result in a calming effect. It creates a bond between the carer and the person with dementia and helps increase trust. A gentle pat on the hand or shoulders or a soft back rub is a great way to help them feel less agitated or anxious. Truly, touch is everything when words fall short.

    How To Talk To Someone You Think Has Signs Of Dementia

    Talking about memory loss, and the possibility of dementia, can be difficult. Someone who is experiencing these symptoms may be confused, unaware they have any problems, worried, or struggling to accept their condition.

    Before starting a conversation with someone you’re concerned about, the Alzheimer’s Society suggests you ask yourself:

    • has the person noticed their symptoms?
    • do they think their problems are just a natural part of ageing?
    • are they scared about what their symptoms could mean for their future?
    • do they think there will not be any point in seeking help?
    • are you the best person to talk to them about memory problems?

    When you do talk to them, choose a place that is familiar and not threatening. Also, allow plenty of time so the conversation is not rushed.

    The Alzheimer’s Society has more tips on how to talk to someone about memory problems.

    If the person does not want to see a GP, many UK dementia charities offer support and advice from specialist nurses or advisers, such as:

    • Alzheimer’s Society’s national helpline: or email:

    Also Check: How To Stop Dementia Patients From Spitting

    Know The Signs Of Dementia

    Early diagnosis can help people with dementia plan for the future, and might mean they can access interventions that help slow down the disease. Being familiar with the signs of dementia can help people receive a diagnosis as early as possible.

    Early signs that a person might have dementia can include:

    • being vague in everyday conversations
    • memory loss that affects day-to-day function
    • short term memory loss
    • difficulty performing everyday tasks and taking longer to do routine tasks
    • losing enthusiasm or interest in regular activities
    • difficulties in thinking or saying the right words
    • changes in personality or behaviour
    • finding it difficult to follow instructions
    • finding it difficult to follow stories
    • increased emotional unpredictability.

    My Mother Keeps Repeating Herself

    Daughter

    As public awareness of dementia and Alzheimers disease continues to grow, Americans are increasingly on alert for signs of the debilitating disease in their elderly family members.

    While increased awareness is certainly a good thing, its difficult to distinguish between the common effects of aging and signs of early-stage dementia.

    Keep in mind that there are still no medical tests to confirm dementia or Alzheimers with absolute certainty, so its even a challenge for medical professionals to draw the line between senility and dementia.

    So, while its important to keep an eye out for the 10 signs of dementia in aging family members, its even more important to be patient and supportive.

    Even if youve heard the same story 10 times today and triple that over the course of the week, its critical to preserve the seniors sense of dignity and respect especially if you suspect that theyre showing signs of Alzheimers disease and dementia.

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    Caregivers And Family Members Should Always Provide Reassurances

    According to the Alzheimers Association, its helpful when you try to say calming phrases such as:Youre safe hereIm sorry that you are upsetIm hereI wont leave you

    These words work like a soothing balm that calms down your loved ones and makes them feel safe. Its equally important that you maintain your composure when they get violent or aggressive. Dont get upset, just be positive, remain calm and reassuring. Try to always speak slowly in a soft tone.

    11. Use memorabilia and make them remember the good timesYou can always try reminding them about their old adventures, people and places they liked to visit. You can bring pictures or sing their favorite songs. If they have no memory of past events, or they get upset when you bring them up, change the topic, and talk about something else.

    12. Ensure everyones safety: the patient with dementia, you, or your caregiverMake sure you and the person are safe. If the person is unable to calm down, seek assistance from others. Always call 911 in emergency situations. If you do call 911, make sure to tell responders the person has dementia, which causes them to act aggressively.- Alzheimers Association

    What Its Like Losing Your Mom To Dementia

    Living with the emotional side of caregiving is just as hard, if not harder, than managing the physical tasks. Our friends at Kindly Care

    Lots of people talk about the practical complications of dementia and Alzheimers, but few have addressed the true cost of these diseases to friends and family: effectively losing a person you love and rely on. For Cassandra Jones, that meant seeing her mother Deana diagnosed with semantic dementia at just 50 years old slowly drift away.

    Dementia is a progressive disease, and the medically-accepted stages dont always arrive one after another. In fact, those living with dementia often slip in and out, lucid one moment and unaware of their surroundings the next.

    In the beginning, she used to say things like oh my brain is so stupid, oh I used to be so smart, and that just really makes you feel so sad because I know what a smart woman she was, Cassandra added. She was such a wonderful teacher.

    Now, Cassandra with help from her sister, father, and volunteers from their church provides daily care for Deana that even includes helping her shower.

    It makes me wonder, how much does she know right now? Does she realize whats happened to her?

    Cassandra has a young family of her own, and not having her mom around as a sounding board has been particularly rough.

    Because Im younger and Im just starting out with my family, there are a lot of times when I have questions and I need motherly advice. I just want a mom to talk to.

    Recommended Reading: How Does Vascular Dementia Affect The Family

    Maintain Healthy Lifestyle Habits

    In addition to scheduling in time for yourself, youll also want to maintain healthy lifestyle habits.

    Some ways to keep your health a priority include:

    • Eating healthy meals and snacks
    • Exercising regularly
    • Attending medical and dental appointments
    • Engaging in social activities

    Its easy to neglect your own health when youre caring for someone else, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle is necessary when involved in dementia elderly care.

    Difficulty Remembering Or Trouble Finding Words

    Medicare, Dementia, and My Mom â What Do I Need to Know?

    Its normal for older adults to have lapses in thought here and there. But showing signs of forgetfulness every day is an early warning sign of dementia.

    If your mom is consistently losing track of her thoughts mid-sentence, or if your dad has trouble finding words in casual conversations, these are dementia signs to note.

    Don’t Miss: What Causes Death In Frontotemporal Dementia

    What Are Some Warning Signs Of Dementia

    Any change in a loved ones ability to think or make decisions warrants a conversation and a trip to the doctor. Some of the most common warning signs of Alzheimers include:

    • Difficulty planning, solving problems, or completing basic tasks, such as finishing a familiar recipe.
    • Memory loss that affects daily life. For instance, a senior might forget their keys so frequently that they no longer feel safe leaving their home alone.
    • Confusing time or place, such as by thinking they are in a different time or location.
    • Increasingly poor judgment.
    • Forgetting familiar people.

    Many people see Alzheimers and dementia as synonymous, but Alzheimers is just one manifestation of dementia. Symptoms of other types of dementia can include:

    • Memory loss or thinking changes associated with a cardiovascular problem, such as stroke or high blood pressure.
    • Word-finding difficulties.
    • Difficulty reading, writing, or understanding language.
    • Sudden changes in personality. For example, a once reserved senior might become impulsive or aggressive.
    • New or worsening mood issues, such as anxiety or depression.
    • Changes in movement. Seniors with Parkinsons may shake, while those with frontotemporal dementia may have a slow or unsteady gait.

    Personality Mood And Behavior Changes

    Occasionally feeling sad or moody is normal, but dementia and Alzheimers disease can lead to rapid, inexplicable mood changes. This often occurs when the senior is away from home, as they become upset when theyre out of their comfort zone or daily routine.

    Its important to keep an eye out for increased anxiety, suspicion, depression, confusion, and social withdrawal. At the same time, the disease can also lead to more dramatic upswings, so you should watch out for significant, inexplicable mood swings in both directions.

    Also Check: How To Calm Alzheimer’s Patients

    Being There For A Person With Dementia At The End Of Life

    As dementia progresses, caregivers may find it hard to provide emotional or spiritual comfort to a person who has severe memory loss. However, even in advanced stages of dementia, a person may benefit from such connections.

    Sensory connections targeting someones senses, including hearing, touch, or sight may also bring comfort. Being touched or massaged can be soothing. Listening to music, white noise, or sounds from nature seem to relax some people and lessen agitation. Just being present can be calming to the person.

    Palliative or hospice care teams may be helpful in suggesting ways for people with dementia and their families to connect at the end of life. They also may be able to help identify when someone with dementia is in the last days or weeks of life.

    Signs of the final stages of dementia include some of the following:

    • Being unable to move around on ones own
    • Being unable to speak or make oneself understood
    • Eating problems such as difficulty swallowing

    Though palliative and hospice care experts have unique experience with what happens at the end of life and may be able to give a sense of timing, its hard to predict exactly how much time a person has left.

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