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5 Early Dementia Warning Signs to Watch For

By Lee Nyberg, 9:00 am on

Even though there is no permanent cure for dementia, many modern treatments can enhance a senior’s quality of life if the disorder is diagnosed early. Maintaining a high quality of life can be challenging for some seniors, but professional caregivers can help them obtain this goal. Families can trust in Lincoln, NE, elderly care experts to help their elderly loved ones focus on lifestyle choices that increase the chances of living a longer and healthier life.

Dementia can produce dozens of unusual symptoms years before a senior starts losing his or her memory. Here are 5 early warning signs of dementia and a few steps that can delay its progression. 

1. Difficulty Adapting to Change

Seniors in the earliest stages of dementia often crave repetition because changes to their daily routines seem overwhelming. They might become confused or annoyed if their routine is interrupted. While rigid routines can benefit seniors with dementia, family caregivers should try to challenge their loved one’s cognitive abilities to delay some of the other symptoms of this disorder. Such challenges may include having your loved one try to use the non-dominant hand when eating or writing to build new neural pathways. 

2. Difficulty with Directions

Spatial awareness is often one of the first cognitive skills to be impacted by dementia. You might notice your loved one is starting to get lost in stores he or she has been to many times over the years. Many seniors with dementia require exact written instructions to avoid confusion even while navigating a familiar place. Most doctors suggest seniors immediately stop driving after a dementia diagnosis.

A senior with dementia may find it difficult to accept restrictions on his or her mobility. A Lincoln, NE, home caregiver is the perfect option if your elderly loved one wishes to age in place with greater independence. Cooking, bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping are just a few of the important everyday tasks a caregiver can help with.

3. General Confusion or Agitation

Everyone loses some of their cognitive abilities as they grow older, but age-related cognitive decline doesn’t take place over the course of a few months. Seniors should not be confused or agitated if they misplace their keys or when presented with a complex problem such as filing taxes. Anyone who notices general confusion or agitation in a loved one should contact a dementia specialist for additional testing. These early warning signs can also be caused by other serious health issues such as strokes. 

4. Poor Judgment

Everyone makes mistakes as they grow older, but seniors with dementia tend to make big mistakes that can have a major impact on their daily lives. This includes errors of judgment such as giving huge sums of money to telemarketers and scam artists. As the dementia progresses, many seniors will need help with their finances to prevent such issues. Even if these mistakes aren’t the result of dementia, caregivers and family members should still be wary of unusual financial decisions. 

5. Withdrawal from Social Activities

Dementia can make a senior antisocial, which can speed up the progression of this disease. Regular interactions with family members and peers can provide a senior with many benefits, including better memory and stronger reasoning skills. It is perfectly normal for an aging adult to lose friends and become somewhat reclusive, but this change should not happen overnight.

Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia home care. Lincoln seniors can benefit greatly from the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program designed to slow cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. CTM is included at no additional charge with any of the in-home care plans provided by Home Care Assistance. Call (402) 261-5158 to speak to a qualified Care Manager and schedule a complimentary consultation.