How to Recognize (and Cope) with the Signs of Dementia in Aging Parents

Updated on September 18, 2021 by Amber & The Team.

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woman holding hands of mother who has dementia

We have heard so much about dementia and Alzheimer’s in seniors, but do you know how to recognize the signs in your aging parents? It may be little things at first but as it progresses, you may begin to worry about their safety, especially when living alone. Even small everyday tasks that they’ve done for their entire lives become elusive and at this point, you realize that they may very well be suffering from memory loss as a result of dementia or Alzheimer’s related dementia.

 

When in Doubt

 

The very first thing to do at this point would be to get an accurate diagnosis. It is important to understand that while memory loss is common among the aging, not all instances of dementia can be attributed to Alzheimer’s. It’s time to set up an appointment with a geriatrician who will then determine which specialists to refer your parent to. You may be referred to a neurologist or you may be referred to a geriatric psychiatrist or both. In any case, the one thing you will absolutely want to do is learn the basics of memory care. No matter what the cause, loss of memory can be a major concern.

 

Determining a Level of Care

 

Not all families have the wherewithal to have someone at home with an elderly parent at all times. It may be just as unrealistic to afford in-home healthcare unless it’s a service covered under their insurance or Medicare, which is usually only for a limited time. It may be a painful decision but you may also find that your parent would be better served in a residential setting with 24/7 nurses and caregivers on site. There are various levels of senior care as it is related to dementia and memory loss, so choosing the appropriate setting is an important decision you will have to make.

 

You Are Not Alone

 

Altogether too many people try to manage by themselves. As painful as it is watching your parent’s once beautiful mind begin slipping away, it’s even more so if you don’t find the support you need. Remember, you are not alone and there are support groups everywhere set up to help each other cope with the very same issues you are now facing. Not only can you find the strength you need to make those painful decisions but you can also learn tips from others who have been traveling this road before you.

The first step is in learning to recognize the signs of dementia before you are faced with a life-threatening situation. It’s not something you can ignore because many people suffering from dementia are easily confused by their surroundings. They have been known to wander out in a snowstorm or into a busy road unseen until it’s too late. Take the time to learn how to recognize dementia and memory loss so that you can begin learning to cope with what lies ahead. No one said it will be easier but it can be made much easier with a few basic skills and a solid support system by your side.

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