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How To Tell If Someone Has Dementia

Sure Signs You May Be Getting Dementia According To Doctors

How do you tell someone they have Dementia?

Forgetting someone’s birthday or losing your car keys once in a while isn’t necessarily cause for alarm. But if you experience a specific set of memory problemsproblems like the ones you’re about to read aboutthen there may be cause for concern. “An estimated 6.2 million Americans age 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2021. Seventy-two percent are age 75 or older,” according to the Alzheimer’s Association. And this is a growing health crisis: “In the United States, Alzheimer’s and Dementia deaths have increased 16% during the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Read on to learn about the many signs of the deadly diseaseand to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss theseSure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.

What Is The Treatment For Symptoms And Complications Of Dementia

Some symptoms and complications of dementia can be relieved by medical treatment, even if no treatment exists for the underlying cause of the dementia.

  • Behavioral disorders may improve with individualized therapy aimed at identifying and changing specific problem behaviors.
  • Mood swings and emotional outbursts may be treated with mood-stabilizing drugs.
  • Agitation and psychosis may be treated with antipsychotic medication or, in some cases, anticonvulsants.
  • Seizures usually require anticonvulsant medication.
  • Sleeplessness can be treated by changing certain habits and, in some cases, by taking medication.
  • Bacterial infections require treatment with antibiotics.
  • Dehydration and malnutrition may be treated with rehydration and supplements or with behavioral therapies.
  • Aspiration, pressure sores, and injuries can be prevented with appropriate care.

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.

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You May Have Difficulty Performing Familiar Tasks

“Are you, or the person you know, forgetting how to do a typical routine or task, such as preparing a meal or getting dressed? Busy people can be so distracted from time to time that they may forget to serve part of a meal, only to remember about it later. However, a person living with dementia may have trouble completing tasks that have been familiar to them all their lives, such as preparing a meal or playing a game,” says the Alzheimer Society.

What Are Potentially Treatable Causes Of Dementia

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The dementia in treatable conditions may be reversible or partially reversible, even if the underlying disease or damage is not. However, readers should note that if underlying brain damage is extensive or severe, these causes may be classified as irreversible by the individual’s physician.

There is no specific test for dementia. However, dementia may be diagnosed if at least two of the following core mental functions are significantly impaired, according to some researchers:

  • Memory
  • Attentiveness/focus on a problem or subject
  • Reasoning/Judgment
  • Visual perception

In some people, the signs and symptoms of dementia are easily recognized in others, they can be very subtle. A careful and thorough evaluation is needed to identify their true cause.

An assessment of dementia symptoms should include a mental status evaluation. This evaluation uses various “pencil and paper,””talking,” and physical tests to identify brain dysfunction. A more thorough type of testing, performed by a psychologist, is called neuropsychologic testing.

Lab tests may be used to identify or rule out possible causes of dementia.

In some cases, imaging studies of the brain may be necessary to detect conditions such as normal pressure hydrocephalus, brain tumor, or infarction or bleeding in the brain.

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Should You Keep Trying To Communicate

Family members may frequently ask, How often should I visit?, or, Should I visit at all, because they dont seem to be understanding what were saying, most of the time they dont seem to recognize me, etc. Caregivers can encourage family members to visit because its important to them. Also, the person with memory loss may catch some things on some days, and if family members can make the interaction a pleasant moment, it can be rewarding for both.

Communication amongst family becomes particularly difficult when the person with dementia and/or Alzheimers doesnt recognize family members anymore. In this situation, a spouse or children can think that it doesnt do any good to go talk to the personthat anyone could talk to him/her because they dont remember who they are. But there is a richness that happens because of family history together, something that can only come from people that have been family or friends for a long time.

The type of communication families can get out of visits can be pulled from the strength of the patient and/or loved ones long-term memories. They can still talk about the past, and for family members, to hear those things are perhaps a worthwhile gift.

Even though the patient and/or loved one can no longer communicate the way they used to, there are still other ways to enjoy time together. There is beauty and simplicity in being in the present moment.

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An Overview Of Latestage Dementia

The patient reaching thisstage has probably suffered for a long time. Although they have family andloved ones who care for them from the beginning, the disease needs to betackled carefully now. At this stage, every day is a new trauma, and its like afresh goodbye to the brilliant, amazing and sparkling person that the suffereronce was. This stage can be incredibly straining for the carers, and they mayend up neglecting their own health needs.

Thereupon, experts recommendcaretakers to keep a keen eye at the changing actions of the patient. Behaviorssuch as rare talking and denial to recognize the nearest ones are the warningsigns that the patient is soon dying from dementia. To elaborate further, hereare four symptoms of late-stage dementia:

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What Conditions Can Be Mistaken For Dementia

The term dementia refers to a specific group of symptoms related to a decline in mental ability. Often, people who experience subtle short-term memory changes, are easily confused, or exhibit different behaviors or personality traits are mistakenly thought to have dementia. These symptoms could be the result of a variety of other conditions or disorders, including other neurocognitive disorders such as Parkinsons disease, brain growths or tumors, mild cognitive impairment , and mood disorders, like depression.

Recognizing Changes In Personality

How do you know if you or someone else has dementia?
  • 1Notice social withdrawal. People with Alzheimers often lose interest in their hobbies, friendships, work, or social activities. This may be caused by the difficulties of their condition or a general blasé attitude toward their interests. These changes in attitude should be assessed overtime.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source
  • If you know they follow sports or politics, ask them about their favorite team or what they think about current events. If they are uncharacteristically out of touch, this may be a sign of intellectual withdrawal associated with Alzheimers.
  • 2Watch for changes in mood. Alzheimers often causes abrupt changes in their mood and relationship with others. Look out for irregular expressions of confusion, anger, suspicion, depression, fear, or anxiety. Pay particular attention to how they behave when they are around new people or otherwise outside their comfort zone.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source
  • 3Look for poor judgement. People with Alzheimers often show poor judgement and decision-making ability. Watch out for a tendency to spend money unwisely or give money to telemarketers. They may be overly trusting or overly skeptical of people. They may also keep poor hygiene and an unkempt appearance.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to sourceAdvertisement
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    What Diagnosis Falls Under Alzheimer’s Disease

    Alzheimers disease is a diagnosis in itself. When it is noticeable clinically and identified early on, the formal diagnosis may be Mild Cognitive Impairment due to Alzheimers disease which may later develop into a diagnosis of dementia due to Alzheimers disease.

  • Alzheimers Association. Stages of Alzheimers. Accessed May 27, 2021.
  • National Institute on Aging. Alzheimers Disease Fact Sheet. Content reviewed May 2019. Accessed May 27, 2021.
  • The Case Against Disclosure

    The main arguments against disclosure centre on concern, mostly by relatives, that it would lead to depression, anxiety and possibly suicide .

    Maguire et al suggest that this may be compounded by relatives reluctance to deal with the patients knowledge and grief. A clients daughter begged this papers author to stop the consultant disclosing a diagnosis of dementia to her mother, as the daughter would be the one dealing with the consequences and she felt she would not be able to cope. But Maguire et al found that people who were opposed to telling a family member wanted to be told if they had the condition. The reason they gave is that they had a right to know their diagnosis, and apparently saw no paradox in their views. Similarly, Holroyd et al found that more people would want to know the diagnosis if it were their own than felt a relative should be informed. Other arguments against disclosure included that it is of no benefit because there is no cure and that the person would forget anyway .

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    How Does A Doctor Test For Dementia

    There is no single diagnostic test for Alzheimers disease and other causes of dementia. Dementias are diagnosed by evaluating and understanding a persons memory and thinking patterns. Doctors will consider a persons memory, grasp of language, mood states, problem-solving skills, ability to maintain focus and perform complex tasks. Evaluation may include in-office cognitive screening , physical examination, and review of labs. Labwork helps to determine whether there are vitamin deficiencies or hormonal changes at play. In some cases, evaluation may require neuropsychological testing, brain imaging , and genetic testing.

    What Medications Treat Dementia Symptoms

    How to tell someone with dementia that a loved one has ...

    Dementia treatment focuses on correcting all reversible factors and slowing irreversible factors. Some of the important drug treatment strategies in dementia are described. Except for the cholinesterase inhibitors, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved any drug specifically for dementia. The drugs listed here are some of the most frequently prescribed from each class.

    Slowing the progression of dementia

    Dementia due to some conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, can sometimes be slowed in the early-to-intermediate stages with medication. Many different types of medications have been or are being tried in dementia. The medications that have worked the best so far are the cholinesterase inhibitors.

    Treating depression

    Because depression is so common in people with dementia, treatment of depression can at least partially relieve symptoms.

    • Depression is usually treated with any of a group of drugs known as antidepressants.
    • The most important of these are the drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors , for example, Fluoxetine , sertraline , paroxetine , citalopram .
    • Stimulant drugs such as methylphenidate may sometimes be used to treat depression in people with dementia.
    • Some of the medications that treat depression also help with anxiety.

    Correcting drug doses and/or withdrawing misused drugs

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    What Are Your Options

    Did you read these early signs of dementia and become even more concerned about yourself or your loved one? First of all, dont panic. These are all early signs, and catching it at this early stage is the best thing you can do.

    Next, make an appointment with a doctor. Theyll be able to fully evaluate you or your loved ones condition and get a treatment plan started. Theyll also help you compare treatment options and plans to get the best plan set up for your situation.

    Take Medications And Documents With You

    When you set out, make sure to take important documents with you, such as a list of medications, physician information, and their dosage and schedule, a list of your loved ones food allergies, emergency contact information, and insurance information. Plus, its advisable to jot down a full travel itinerary and keep it on hand. If you are flying, do not pack your loved ones medications in checked baggage make sure to carry them with you.

    If the person with dementia is susceptible to straying away, make them wear an identification bracelet or put their name somewhere on their clothing in addition to your contact number and put a list of their medical conditions and information in their pocket or wallet.

    Additionally, it is an excellent idea to keep a recent photo of your loved one with you in case you get separated at the airport, gas station, or anywhere else and need help from others to find one another.

    If you are apprehensive about public interactions, you can keep a card with you that summarizes your loved ones details about their dementia and show it to other travelers or airline staff to avoid frustration and possible embarrassment.

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    A Person With Dementia Doesnt Always Fit Into One Stage

    Dementia affects each person in a unique way and changes different parts of the brain at different points in the disease progression.

    Plus, different types of dementia tend to have different symptoms.

    For example, someone with frontotemporal dementia may first show extreme behavior and personality changes. But someone with Alzheimers disease would first experience short-term memory loss and struggle with everyday tasks.

    Researchers and doctors still dont know enough about how these diseases work to predict exactly what will happen.

    Another common occurrence is for someone in the middle stages of dementia to suddenly have a clear moment, hour, or day and seem like theyre back to their pre-dementia abilities. They could be sharp for a little while and later, go back to having obvious cognitive impairment.

    When this happens, some families may feel like their older adult is faking their symptoms or just isnt trying hard enough.

    Its important to know that this isnt true, its truly the dementia thats causing their declining abilities as well as those strange moments of clarity theyre truly not doing it on purpose.

    Being Confused About Time Or Place

    âShould we tell her she has dementia?â?

    Dementia can make it hard to judge the passing of time. People may also forget where they are at any time.

    They may find it hard to understand events in the future or the past and may struggle with dates.

    Visual information can be challenging for a person with dementia. It can be hard to read, to judge distances, or work out the differences between colors.

    Someone who usually drives or cycles may start to find these activities challenging.

    A person with dementia may find it hard to engage in conversations.

    They may forget what they are saying or what somebody else has said. It can be difficult to enter a conversation.

    People may also find their spelling, punctuation, and grammar get worse.

    Some peoples handwriting becomes more difficult to read.

    A person with dementia may not be able to remember where they leave everyday objects, such as a remote control, important documents, cash, or their keys.

    Misplacing possessions can be frustrating and may mean they accuse other people of stealing.

    It can be hard for someone with dementia to understand what is fair and reasonable. This may mean they pay too much for things, or become easily sure about buying things they do not need.

    Some people with dementia also pay less attention to keeping themselves clean and presentable.

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    Rapid And Unexplained Mood Swings And/or Depression

    This is different to: more typical age-related behaviours such as becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.

    Mood and personality changes can be associated with early signs of dementia. This could include becoming confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious, and your parent may find themselves getting easily upset in places they feel unsure about. Some of the dementia symptoms NHS lists include:

    • Increased anxiety
    • Depression
    • Violent mood swings

    For example, your parent may appear calm, then visibly upset, and then very angry in a matter of minutes. This is a significant sign of dementia anger and frustration specifically if its unprovoked.

    Other physical signs include pacing, obsessing over minor details, agitation, fear, confusion, rage and feeling overwhelmed because theyre trying to make sense of a world thats now confusing to them.

    Encouraging Someone To See Their Gp

    If dementia is detected early, in some cases its progress can be slowed and the person affected might be able to maintain their mental function for longer.

    It might help to suggest that you accompany your friend or relative to the GP to support them. This way, after the appointment you can help them recall what has been discussed.

    Dementia is diagnosed by doctors ruling out other conditions that could cause similar symptoms and carrying out a thorough assessment.

    A GP or a doctor specialising in memory problems will run a series of tests to see if theres an alternative explanation for the problems. The doctor will also want to discuss how symptoms have developed over time.

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    Discuss Test Results With A Doctor

    Dont assume that the test results are equal to a diagnosis of any kind.

    The SAGE test is a screening tool that helps doctors detect early signs of cognitive impairment that are typically not noticeable during a normal office visit.

    When the test is repeated over time, doctors can watch for changes in cognitive ability. Being able to measure changes helps them detect and treat health conditions early.

    Thats why its important to bring the completed test to the doctor to have it reviewed. If there are signs of cognitive impairment, they may recommend further testing.


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