When we gather with our elderly loved ones this holiday season, we look forward to checking in on their health and wellness. We often expect to hear mom is still conquering puzzles or uncle is still doing his daily walks, but what if you notice changes?
During holiday gatherings, you might hear or notice some red flags that indicate your aging relative is developing dementia.
Signs of Memory Loss
Asking the same question over and over again and retelling a story you just finished ten minutes ago is concerning behavior.
Trouble With Time
Losing track of the day, month, or year is common for those in the early stages of dementia. This issue can also manifest through trouble keeping appointments or managing commitments.
Getting lost can be a dangerous aspect of dementia. If your loved one is having difficulty navigating familiar places – like how to get to the bathroom in your house or where their regular grocery store is located – it raises a red flag.
Another sign of dementia can be mixing up words when speaking, forgetting common words, or having trouble following a train of thought.
Decreased Interest in Hobbies
If your aging loved one used to love reading but is now barely making it through a novel, it could indicate memory loss. Activities not associated with declining physical health should still provide enjoyment, except if your brain isn’t working the way it should.
What You Can Do
The best thing to do is communicate your concerns with your loved one. If they are not open to this, you do have the ability to message their physician. Sometimes seeing a specialist like a neuropsychologist can set you on the right track towards significantly slowing down dementia’s effects.
Writing a list of behaviors that indicate signs of dementia can also be very helpful for your loved one and for a physician trying to diagnose. You can start doing this as soon as a red flag pops up.
While we wish for a Merry Christmas and health in the New Year, sometimes the holidays can bring forth problems that need care for your aging loved one. Watch for signs of dementia to help your elderly relatives stay well.