Conditions With Symptoms Similar To Dementia
Remember that many conditions have symptoms similar to dementia, so it is important not to assume that someone has dementia just because some of the above symptoms are present. Strokes, depression, excessive long-term alcohol consumption, infections, hormonal disorders, nutritional deficiencies and brain tumours can all cause dementia-like symptoms. Many of these conditions can be treated.
What Is Dementia Symptoms Types And Diagnosis
Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning thinking, remembering, and reasoning to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities. Some people with dementia cannot control their emotions, and their personalities may change. Dementia ranges in severity from the mildest stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person’s functioning, to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for basic activities of living.
Dementia is more common as people grow older but it is not a normal part of aging. Many people live into their 90s and beyond without any signs of dementia.
There are several different forms of dementia, including Alzheimers disease. A persons symptoms can vary depending on the type.
Distraction: Singing & Reading
For some people, a distraction can be a good way to get the chore done. Its kind of a different communication style that helps in distressing situations. For example, if a patient and/or loved one likes singing, starting him/her singing could allow the caregiver and/or family member to ease into bathing time with a gesture.
Singing actually can help tremendously with memory loss patients and/or loved ones who can no longer talk, or have trouble finding words to form sentences, because they are usually still able to sing a song. Often, they can remember the lyrics of a song from beginning to end.
Many patients and/or loved ones can still read as well. Singing and reading can give the person great joy and hearing a loved ones voice can very comforting for family members.
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Telling The Truth To People With Dementia
Get advice on how to deal with difficult situations around telling the truth to people with dementia.
Making decisions and managing difficult situations
Situations may arise where a person with dementia asks questions that leave carers feeling unsure about whether to answer honestly. This could be because the answer would be distressing to the person for example, reminding them that a relative or partner has died. In cases such as these, carers can look for different ways of handling the situation.
If the person says something that you know is not true or possible, try to see past what they are saying, and instead look at the emotions behind it. For example, if they are asking for their mother, who is no longer alive, it may be that they are feeling scared or need comforting. By meeting the needs behind what is being said, it can be possible to offer emotional support while avoiding a direct confrontation over the facts.
In some situations you may decide that not telling the truth is in the persons best interests. If you do decide that the truth would be too distressing for the person, there are other options available.
Each case should be judged individually and the course of action should be chosen to suit the specific time and situation. An ideal solution is one that you feel comfortable with and also considers the persons interests.
Changes In Behaviour Judgement And Moods
Becoming quiet, withdrawn or restless or frustrated or angry can be early signs of dementia. Someone may develop repetitive behaviour for example, they ask the same question over and over again, do the same thing repeatedly or make multiple phone calls to the same person. They may become insecure and anxious or start hiding and losing items. They may withdraw from social activities or give up hobbies and interests they have enjoyed.
They may show poor judgement, for example putting summer clothes on in cold winter months, not knowing when a kettle is full or overfilling cups when making cold and hot drinks, putting a kettle on the hob or leaving a cooker on or tap running. Someone with dementia may become very emotional and experience rapid mood swings or become quieter and less emotional than usual.
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Keeping The Status Quo
How to manage any discussion depends on how you have come to worry about the person. For example, if an older man who used to live at your house turns up outside looking puzzled and lost, and you have to redirect him back to his own house, you could tell his family what has happened. If someone at your golf club is showing signs of change such as not being able to keep the score, turning up at the wrong time, losing their balance, not recognising golfing pals, you need to tell their spouse that there is a problem, and you can help them to support your friend through the steps of seeing a GP and making changes at home. The most important thing of all is that you keep supporting them to play golf. They still are the same person, and they need friends, and exercise, more than ever before, and their spouse needs the respite of someone else entertaining them for a few hours with a proper understanding that they may need a bit more support over time.
The same is true if the scenario is someone at work. Even with dementia a person of working age is able to contribute and is entitled to support to do so. Make sure your human resources department knows about your concerns before it becomes a disciplinary issue, and they risk being dismissed from the job because of this illness which might seem to make them poor at timekeeping or less organised than before.
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.
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Are Early Signs Of Dementia Obvious
Changes in a person in the early stages of dementia can be so gradual they can often be mistaken for normal ageing. Because dementia affects people in different ways, symptoms may not always be obvious. In fact, failure to recognise early signs often leads to people not being diagnosed for several years.
So what to look for? Perhaps someone you care for is struggling to remember what they did yesterday and forgets the names of friends or everyday objects. They may have difficulty following conversations or TV programmes, repeat things over and over, or have problems thinking or reasoning. They may feel angry, anxious or depressed about memory loss or feel confused even in a familiar environment.
The healthtalk website presents a range of carers experiences of identifying the early signs of dementia. One carer put it this way.
The first stage is not recognisable I think, or certainly wasnt recognisable as far as I was concerned initially . I was certainly not understanding… the fact that my wife was at the beginning of a serious problem, a serious mental health problem. 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.
How To Talk To Someone With Dementia Alzheimer’s Or Memory Loss
Communicating with a person with memory loss can be difficult, but the right strategies can bridge the gap and foster a more fulfilling relationship between you and your patient or loved one.
Those struggling to communicate with a person who has memory loss are not alone. As many as four million people in the US may have Alzheimer’s, and, as our population ages, that number is expected to increase. Anyone who is a senior caregiver is likely to be affected and will need to understand how to cope with what is happening.
Memory loss associated with aging, dementia, and Alzheimer’s typically doesnt happen overnight. Slowly, little-by-little, it sneaks up, until one day, family members realize that they can no longer communicate in the same way with the person they’ve known for years. They suddenly can’t rely on their words and their sentences dont match the situation.
Because we cannot see the diseasethe way we see a broken armits even more confusing when caregivers see how their patient and/or loved one will have good and bad days. The days when theyre alert and clear-headed make a caregiver hopeful. Then the bad days come, and family members and caregivers feel the pain of losing their patient and/or loved one all over again. This slow and normal progression of the disease makes communication a major challenge for caregivers.
This blog will share more information and advice to improve communication, including:
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Ethical Codes And Telling The Diagnosis
The psychiatrist should inform the patient of the nature of the condition, therapeutic procedures, including possible alternatives, and of the possible outcome. This information must be offered in a considerate way, and the patient must be given the opportunity to choose between appropriate and available methods.
But does this mean that psychiatrists have the duty to provide the information when there is no treatment? And how truthful should be the considerate way? Does it imply the whole truth? As much as the patient wants? As much as the patient’s physician believes is sufficient? The General Medical Council recommends that physicians, to establish and maintain trust in their relationships with patients, must give them the information they ask for or need about their condition, its treatment and prognosis… in a way they can understand. In practice, patients with dementia rarely ask for the information, and many physicians seem to think that because there is no cure to offer, such knowledge may be only detrimental and, therefore, not needed in therapeutic relationships. But can the relationships be successful without telling the truth?
‘lets Have A Cup Of Tea Now Then After That We Can Go For Nice Walk And Get Lunch In That Caf You Like In Town
Long, complex sentences can be difficult to grasp for somebody with dementia. It’s difficult to process several ideas at once as cognitive abilities slow down, so it’s better to give directions or instructions one step at a time.
Try this instead:
Use short, simple sentences as much as possible. Avoid speaking in loud environments and wait until you have the persons full attention before you start a conversation.
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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.
‘your Brother Died 10 Years Ago’
A person living with dementia may forget about a past bereavement or ask for somebody who has passed away. But reminding them of a loved one’s death can be painful, even causing them to relive the grief they’ve already experienced. How carers should respond to this may vary for different circumstances, but it’s always good to show sensitivity.
Try this instead:
It may be better to come up with another reason for somebody’s absence, while at other times a gentle reminder is appropriate. In the later stages of dementia, trying to remind them that the person has died is unlikely to work and may be best avoided.
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Kind Calming Ways To Respond To I Want To Go Home
These suggestions will put you on the right track, but its a good idea to get creative and come up with responses that are tailored for your older adults history, personality, and preferences.
1. Reassure and comfort to validate their needsSometimes saying I want to go home is how your older adult tells you theyre tense, anxious, scared, or in need of extra comfort.
Approach your older adult with a calm, soothing, and relaxed manner. If you remain calm, it often helps them calm down too.
If they like hugs, this is a good time for one. Others may prefer gentle touching or stroking on their arm or shoulder or simply having you sit with them.
2. Avoid reasoning and explanationsTrying to use reason and logic isnt recommended when someone has a brain disease. It will only make them more insistent, agitated, and upset.
Dont try to explain that theyre in their own home, assisted living is now their home, or they moved in with you 3 years ago.
They wont be able to process that information and will feel like youre not listening, you dont care, or that youre stopping them from doing something thats important to them.
3. Validate, redirect, and distractBeing able to redirect and distract is an effective dementia care technique. Its a skill that improves with practice, so dont feel discouraged if the first few attempts dont work perfectly.
Things For Carers To Think About Around Telling The Truth
- Is there a message behind the question that indicates an emotion or unmet need, eg fear, loneliness or disorientation?
- Is the person likely to understand what they are being told? Are there ways of making it easier for them to understand?
- Would knowing the truth cause the person significant distress? If so, would the consequences of telling the truth outweigh the need?
- Are there ways of telling the person the truth that would be less upsetting?
- Are there some things that are essential to be honest about?
- Will not telling the truth make things more difficult in the long run?
- From your knowledge of the person, what do you think they would want?
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Are You Losing Things And Just Cant Figure Out Where They Went
We all misplace things. And yes, on a busy morning we may even put the cornflakes box in the refrigerator if were moving too fast. Its normal to put things in the wrong spot, and its normal to catch the mistake or retrace our steps to find the keys sitting on top of todays stack of mail.
Whats not: Being unable to figure out where lost belongings might be, putting things in more and more unusual places and starting to suspectwithout evidencethat people have stolen your missing possessions.
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.
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Tip : Pursue Activities That Bring You Meaning And Joy
Having Alzheimers or another dementia doesnt mean your life has to stop moving forward. By pursuing meaningful activities and relationships, you can continue to nourish your spirit and find pleasure and purpose in life.
Even when symptoms advance and certain activities become difficult, you can still find other ways to nurture and enrich your spirit. If you can no longer paint, for example, you may still be able to visit museums and appreciate the art of others. Or if you can no longer cook, you may still be able to devise the menu and help shop for ingredients.
While we all have different ways of experiencing meaning and joy, you may want to:
Pursue your favorite hobbies and interests. Engaging in activities that are important to you can help maintain your identity as well as enrich your life. Try taking a class or joining a club to keep your interest growing or to explore new activities.
Build your legacy. In the early stages of dementia, many people are mindful of how they want to be remembered. Maybe you want to pass on your skills and knowledge to others, or leave a record of your life for your grandchildren to enjoy. You might want to create photo albums, write your memoirs or a how-to book, share your favorite recipes, make a record of family traditions, or research your family history. Or perhaps you simply want to spend time with your closest loved ones to create new memories.
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Should You Tell The Person They Have Alzheimer’s
Families may frequently ask, Should I tell the person that he/she has Alzheimer’s? Keep in mind that the patient and/or loved one can’t reason. They don’t have enough memory to remember the question, then think it through to form a conclusion. Caregivers and/or family members may often think if they tell the person with memory loss that he/she has Alzheimer’s, then he/she will understand and cooperate. You cant get cooperation by explaining that he/she has the disease and expect him/her to remember and use that information.
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