Early Detection Matters

Signs and Symptoms of Dementia

Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily living.  Dementia is not a specific disease, it is an overall term used to describe the changes in mental ability that affect daily living/functioning.  Alzheimer’s Disease is the cause of 60-80% of all dementia.  Vascular dementia is the second most common cause, often after a stroke or severe coronary artery disease.

Symptoms of Dementia

While symptoms may vary, at least 2 of the following must be present to warrant a diagnosis of Dementia:

  • Memory loss/problems—short term memory

Forgetting recently learned information.  Forgetting important dates or information.  Asking the same questions over and over.  Relying on family to remind them of things one used to do on their own.  Getting lost while driving or out shopping

  • Communication and language difficulties

Trouble following or joining a conversation.  Stopping in the middle of a conversation, unable to complete a thought.  Can’t find the right word.  Calling common items by the wrong name (a watch may be called a hand clock)

  • Ability to focus and pay attention

Difficulty staying focused on a conversation.  Difficulty paying attention to TV or Movies.  Having problems following a discussion or conversation.  Having problems understanding what is said to them.

  • Reasoning and judgment

Giving things of value away  .Making poor decisions.  Paying less attention to grooming or clothing selection.  Not taking care of things that have always been valued by the individual.

  • Visual perception

Difficulty reading.  Difficulty judging distance or color.  Not recognizing their own image when passing a mirror, thinking someone else is in the room.

Diagnosis and Early Intervention

If you have a loved one who is experiencing symptoms of dementia, it is critical to get a diagnosis and begin early intervention.  There are a lot of new medications which can slow the progress of some forms of dementia.  This allows other non medical interventions to be more effective and it also enables one to plan and indentify individuals’ desires and needs for long term care.

For Information concerning our assisted living communities, visit GreatOaksManagement.com.

For more information on Alzheimer’s, visit ALZ.org.

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