What Is The Clock Test For Dementia
The clock test is a non-verbal screening tool that may be used as part of the assessment for dementia, Alzheimers, and other neurological problems. The clock test screens for cognitive impairment. The individual being screened is asked to draw a clock with the hour and minute hands pointing to a specific time. Research has shown that six potential errors in the clock testthe wrong time, no hands, missing numbers, number substitutions, repetition, and refusalcould be indicative of dementia.
Women Might Be At Higher Risk
Age is the major risk factor for Alzheimers disease, and women on average live longer than men.
However, longevity alone does not fully explain why two-thirds of Alzheimers patients are women. Even after taking into account the difference in longevity, some studies have suggested that women are still at a higher risk.
Difficulty Speaking And Maintaining Conversations
People with dementia can have trouble remembering the right word for things. They may struggle with their vocabulary, which can make it difficult understanding what they mean.
Youll also notice that theyll repeat themselves or lose their train of thought during conversations. Because of this, many people dont speak as often or wont try and join in conversations.
Its also hard for people with dementia to understand how to join in on others conversations, since they cant follow the topic easily or understand what people are saying.
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Early Signs Of Dementia
Its not easy to spot the early signs of dementia in someone we are caring for. If a person is struggling to remember a name, follow a conversation or recall what they did yesterday, many of us may put it down to the fact that the person is getting older. But it may well be a warning that they are in the early stages of dementia.
Family, friends and care workers are likely to be the first to see the signs and play a key role in encouraging a person receiving care to see a GP.
Because I was with my wife continuously, I think I was less likely to recognise some of the changes that were taking place than people who saw her less regularly.
A carer speaking about his wifes early signs of dementia, healthtalk website
A doctor can help establish whether a person has dementia or a treatable illness or condition that can cause dementia-like symptoms, such as depression, a urinary infection or nutritional disorders.
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
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Dont Stop Visiting Just Because You Think They Wont Remember
Do you sometimes feel like it’s not worth it to spend time visiting your loved one? Think again. Even if they aren’t able to remember that you visited, research shows that the feelings you create remain far longer than the duration of your visit.
Those feelings can shape the rest of their day by influencing how they respond to others, how they feel, even how they eat. Be encouraged that your visit has more lasting power than you think. Remember that there are times when you will be enriched by your time together as well.
What Are The Signs Of Dementia
Most age-related memory problems are not signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, but evidence of a slowdown in the brain’s processing speed that increases the time it takes to retrieve information. As we age, our ability to divide our attention among more than one task or bits of information also declines, which can interfere with storing new memories.
While you may be able to chalk off a few memory lapses to normal aging, there are some common warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease. If you or someone you love is experiencing one or more of the following symptoms, talk to a doctor.
Trouble remembering things. At first, only short-term memory may be affected, with long-term memory issues developing later. People may forget an appointment or the name of a new acquaintance. Many people complain of memory loss but can provide considerable detail regarding incidents of forgetfulness, such as where they were at the time. However, acknowledging memory loss only if asked and being unable to recall specific instances when they were unable to remember something can be a sign of dementia.
Trouble completing ordinary tasks. Simple tasks that once caused no difficulty may become much more challenging. For example, forgetting how to use the oven, lock the door, or get dressed can be signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
Impaired judgment. The individual might have trouble making decisions, solving problems, or planning.For example, he may no longer be able to balance a checkbook or pay bills.
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Can Dementia Suddenly Get Worse
The progression of dementia depends on the underlying disease. Some diseases have a rapid progression. Others progress more slowly. Any sudden change with either slow or rapid progression should be evaluated for another cause. In most cases, changes with dementia may seem like they came out of the blue when they actually may have been slowly developing in the background. The best way to prepare for changes and manage expectations is through information. Your doctor and medical team will be a valuable resource. There are a variety of educational resources that are also available through the Alzheimer’s Association.
Diagnostic Steps To Assess Symptoms With A Professional
To diagnose Alzheimers Disease, physicians, with the help of neurologists and neuropsychologists, use various steps and techniques to assess these symptoms and come to a conclusion.
The first step is your medical history.
- The first thing the medical care provider will do is to check the patients medical history and their familys to determine if any family member has/had dementia or AD. Additionally, besides checking whether it is genetic, they will also check recent conditions regarding psychological and behavioral changes.
The next step is physical and diagnostic exams.
- The doctor will first ask about diet and nutrients along with usage of alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, and other supplements.
- Will also ask about current medications being used, including over-the-counter drugs.
- Do a physical exam in which the physician will check for blood pressure, temperature and pulse, listen to the heart and the lungs, and collect blood and urine samples for testing.
Then, its time for neurological exams to test neural functioning such as:
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Common Forms Of Dementia
There are many different forms of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form and may contribute to 60-70% of cases. Other major forms include vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies , and a group of diseases that contribute to frontotemporal dementia . Dementia may also develop after a stroke or in the context of certain infections such as HIV, harmful use of alcohol, repetitive physical injuries to the brain or nutritional deficiencies. The boundaries between different forms of dementia are indistinct and mixed forms often co-exist.
How Doctors Test For Alzheimers
It is imperative to have your parent or senior loved ones get an appropriate medical evaluation if they show any of the above warning signs.
If the condition is treatable, then they may not need to worry about Alzheimers at all. If they do have Alzheimers and dementia or another dementia-causing condition, a timely diagnosis can help you plan for the future.
Has knowledge of these early Alzheimers warning signs helped you get a family member the care they need? Share your story in the comments below.
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Monday 17 September 2018
Dementia is the term given to a group of diseases that affect a persons thinking, behaviour and ability to perform everyday tasks. While its commonly thought of as an older persons disease, dementia can affect people of all ages.
Early symptoms of dementia can be vague and vary between people. While some people pick up on changes in their own thinking or behaviour that might be caused by dementia, sometimes these signs are first noticed by those around them.
If youve noticed a change in someone close to you, the steps below can help you assist them in seeking diagnosis and treatment.
Recognizing Changes In Personality
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Early Warning Signs And Diagnosis
Alzheimers Disease can be caught in the early stageswhen the best treatments are availableby watching for telltale warning signs. If you recognize the warning signs in yourself or a loved one, make an appointment to see your physician right away. Brain imaging technology can diagnose Alzheimers early, improving the opportunities for symptom management.
What To Watch For
Here are some of the warning signs identified by dementia experts and mental health organizations:
Difficulty with everyday tasks. Everyone makes mistakes, but people with dementia may find it increasingly difficult to do things like keep track of monthly bills or follow a recipe while cooking, the Alzheimers Association says. They also may find it hard to concentrate on tasks, take much longer to do them or have trouble finishing them.
Repetition. Asking a question over and over or telling the same story about a recent event multiple times are common indicators of mild or moderate Alzheimer’s, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Communication problems. Observe if a loved one has trouble joining in conversations or following along with them, stops abruptly in the middle of a thought or struggles to think of words or the name of objects.
Getting lost. People with dementia may have difficulty with visual and spatial abilities. That can manifest itself in problems like getting lost while driving, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Personality changes. A loved one who begins acting unusually anxious, confused, fearful or suspicious becomes upset easily or loses interest in activities and seems depressed is cause for concern.
Troubling behavior. If your family member seems to have increasingly poor judgment when handling money or neglects grooming and cleanliness, pay attention.
People with mild cognitive impairment are at an increased risk of developing dementia.
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What Not To Do To People With Alzheimer’s Disease
Do you know someone who has Alzheimer’s disease? If you don’t, it might be only a matter of time before you do.
The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that approximately 5.8 million Americans have Alzheimer’s or another kind of dementia. Sooner or later, you are likely to cross paths with someone who has dementia.
Here are our top 10 “don’ts” when it comes to interacting with someone who has Alzheimer’s disease:
Don’t Ask Other People Questions About Them While They’re Right There
The opposite of quizzing someone is this scenario: “Hi, Fred. So, Sue, how’s Fred been doing? How’s his memory? Is he having any pain? Do you think he’s sad? What does he want for lunch today?”
Consider this a gentle reminder to be intentional about directly asking the person with Alzheimer’s a few questions. If they are completely unable to answer, you can then check with a family member in a respectful way.
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How Accurate Is It
This quiz is NOT a diagnostic tool. Mental health disorders can only be diagnosed by licensed healthcare professionals.
Psycom believes assessments can be a valuable first step toward getting treatment. All too often people stop short of seeking help out of fear their concerns arent legitimate or severe enough to warrant professional intervention.
If you think you or someone you care about may be experiencing symptoms of dementia or any other mental health condition, Psycom.net strongly recommends that you seek help from a mental health professional in order to receive a proper diagnosis and support. For those in crisis, we have compiled a list of resources where you may be able to find additional help at: https://www.psycom.net/get-help-mental-health.
Risk Factors And Prevention
Although age is the strongest known risk factor for dementia, it is not an inevitable consequence of biological ageing. Further, dementia does not exclusively affect older people young onset dementia accounts for up to 9% of cases. Studies show that people can reduce their risk of cognitive decline and dementia by being physically active, not smoking, avoiding harmful use of alcohol, controlling their weight, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Additional risk factors include depression, social isolation, low educational attainment, cognitive inactivity and air pollution.
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What To Do If You Suspect Alzheimers Disease
Getting checked by your healthcare provider can help determine if the symptoms you are experiencing are related to Alzheimers disease, or a more treatable conditions such as a vitamin deficiency or a side effect from medication. Early and accurate diagnosis also provides opportunities for you and your family to consider financial planning, develop advance directives, enroll in clinical trials, and anticipate care needs.
Identifying The Stages Of Alzheimers
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Confused About Where They Are
Dementia can make it hard for people to remember where they are. One minute they could be shopping at the grocery store, and the next they could be completely disoriented at why they arent at home.
They also might become confused about how they got there. They might not remember even if they drove themselves.
What Kind Of Doctor Tests For Dementia
A primary care doctor can perform a physical exam and find out more about your symptoms to determine what may be the cause. They will likely refer you to one or several specialists that can perform specific tests to diagnose dementia. Specialists may include neurologists, who specialize in the brain and nervous system psychiatrists or psychologists, who specialize in mental health, mental functions, and memory or geriatricians, who specialize in healthcare for older adults.
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Loss Of Daily Life Skills
A home that may not be as well kept as usual may be a sign that the person living there has dementia. They may lose the ability to do many of the things they normally do themselves, such as preparing meals, household chores and eating and drinking properly.
They may also struggle to maintain their personal hygiene and getting dressed. Deciding what to wear, how to put things on and in the right order may become increasingly difficult. Getting around the house without walking into furniture and other items may also be a problem.
When To Seek Medical Attention
Even for people without the disease, it is not easy to tell whether a person has dementia or not, the reason a doctors intervention is necessary.
It is because in most cases, dementia is only diagnosed when the symptoms start showing up and for some individuals, the disease may have progressed considerably.
This is one of the things that also makes it difficult to give a straight answer to the question do people with dementia know they have it.
There are some early warning signs, however, that may point towards a person having dementia.
Some of the most common ones include:
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