Thursday, February 16, 2023

Warning Signs of Dementia

With the number of people suffering from dementia around the world expected to reach 139 million by 2050, it’s important that you’re aware of the early signs and symptoms. While many early symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease may be easily confused with other illnesses or simply put down to old age, being able to recognize the early warning signs effectively is crucial in differentiating the harmless signs of ageing from the condition. But what are the key early warning signs of dementia to look out for, and what can you do to care for loved ones if they’re diagnosed? 

What are some of the warning signs of dementia to look out for? - If you suspect a loved one may be suffering from the onset of dementia, early dementia symptoms to look out for include drastic changes in mood, difficulty carrying out everyday tasks, difficulty remembering words during conversations, confusion and loss of memory. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, followed by vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies. While the symptoms of each of these can vary, common symptoms involve changes to the way we think, process language and information, move, speak, see and behave. Although around 1 in 9 people over 60 currently suffer from sight loss, elderly patients with dementia are also more likely to suffer from vision problems, even if they have apparently perfect eyesight, according to the experts at Lenstore. It’s important to carry out regular eye tests to identify the cause of vision problems, especially if you’re worried someone may be developing dementia. Always consult with a doctor or medical professional if you’re concerned that a loved one may be exhibiting any of these symptoms.    

How do you care for someone who has dementia? - Alzheimer’s is usually diagnosed by a doctor based on physical tests and an examination of changes to the patient’s thinking patterns, behaviour and processes. Caring for a loved one with dementia can be emotionally challenging and labour intensive, and you’ll likely need to make drastic changes to your everyday lifestyle if they are diagnosed. If your loved one is suffering from sight loss or vision problems attributed to dementia, try to work on adapting the setup of their living space so that they can easily locate and identify objects and move around the home safely. This could include de-cluttering, installing new lighting and colour-coding items or areas. Consider consulting with a GP or optometrist for recommended treatments, glasses and contact lenses that could safely improve vision and make life easier for your loved one. Remember to take time to treat yourself wherever possible, and always seek out professional support services if you need help caring for someone during the early or progressive stages of dementia. 

This is a guest blog entry.

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