Knowing if Your Parent Has Dementia
While some amount of forgetfulness and mental stumbling is normal with the aging process, it should only be occasional and minor, never causing major problems or seriously interfering with a senior’s quality of life. Forgetting someone’s name, failing to recall if you locked the door or not, and losing your keys are all normal lapses of memory that happen to everyone from time to time. However, more serious lapses like forgetting the way home, being unable to remember how a telephone works, or walking into a store and then suddenly not knowing where you are all probably point to an underlying neurological problem, such as Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
Dementia is not a specific disease. Rather, it is an umbrella term that describes a collection of symptoms including changes in thinking, memory, and other cognitive functions. These symptoms can be associated with a number of different neurological disorders that all affect the brain in different ways. To qualify as dementia, patients must have significantly impaired intellectual functioning that interferes with the activities of daily living. Seniors suffering from dementia may also lose the ability to control their emotions, experience personality changes, or behavioral issues such as agitation, delusions or hallucinations.
Initial warning signs can be very subtle, and go unnoticed or uncommented upon. It is important to remember that dementia is not an unavoidable part of the aging process, and any significant changes in the behavior of a loved one should be taken very seriously. Dementia is a serious issue that will negatively affect your elderly relative’s ability to manage the day to day tasks of their life, including caring for their basic needs.