Aging is inevitable, and our bodies and minds naturally change as we age. While some seemingly maintain vigor and youthful energy very late into life, everyone ages, and with age comes a process of slowing down. During this process, older adults are more prone to developing certain conditions which may impair their ability to go about their daily routine or interact with others.
Dementia is described as the loss of cognitive function. Here cognitive function refers to a person’s ability to process and store information, conjure up old memories, and their ability to reason and communicate. While the body will naturally slow down with age, and cognition will be affected, dementia is not a normal part of aging. Dementia is also not a specific disease. Instead, it is a group of conditions and symptoms demonstrated through the impairment of two or more brain functions relating to memory and a person’s ability to reason. For example, while Alzheimer’s disease is a common cause of progressive dementia, dementia-like symptoms do not automatically guarantee that someone has Alzheimer’s disease.
So how is one supposed to know if the cognitive decline of an older loved one is due to dementia or other influencing factors? To answer this question, reach out to the professionals at Westminster Place to learn more about memory care.
What Are the Early Signs of Dementia?
Dementia can, at times, be hard to diagnose. This is because dementia refers to a group of symptoms causing cognitive impairment rather than being a disease itself. The sign most commonly associated with dementia is memory loss, but countless other factors could cause memory impairment. The best way to get an idea of if someone has dementia is to look at the conditions’ associated symptoms. The physical symptoms of dementia include the following:
- Experiencing memory loss consistently or at various points throughout the day
- Repetition of questions, statements, or opinions
- Decreased interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Inability to find one way in a familiar setting
- Experiencing hallucinations and delusions
- Troubles communicating and expressing thoughts, feelings, and emotions
- Difficulty meeting social and family obligations
- Noticeable lack of interest in others’ feelings and desires
- Using unusual vocabulary to describe everyday objects
- Acting impulsive or unwarranted emotional reactions
As one can imagine, there are quite a few issues to which these symptoms could be attributed. Another way to determine if someone has dementia is to look at its leading causes. Dementia is commonly diagnosed as a result of changes in some areas of the brain. Research is ongoing, and hopefully, more answers will soon be found regarding what causes these changes in the brain.
Sudden Worsening of Dementia Symptoms
Some variations of dementia are progressive, meaning that the severity of the condition and its associated symptoms can increase over time. Sometimes this progression is gradual, while others can be very sudden. Progressive forms of dementia are:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Vascular dementia
- Lewy body dementia
- Frontotemporal dementia
- Mixed dementia
Each type of progressive dementia has a different cause and different symptoms. Each is caused by a different set of changes in the brain, which can be detected through cognitive and neurological tests, brain scans, psychiatric evaluations, genetic tests, cerebrospinal fluid tests, and blood tests. Due to its risk of progression, when signs and physical symptoms of dementia, action must be taken, and professional help must be immediately sought to ensure the patient’s health and safety.
Learn More About Dementia Care at Buckner Westminster Place
Living with dementia can be incredibly difficult, both for those suffering from the condition and loved ones watching the effects of the disease. Dementia can pose a real risk to the health and safety of those affected. Luckily, help is available in the form of memory care and professional caregivers. At Buckner Westminster Place, we understand the struggles associated with dementia. We have developed our facility and curriculum to ensure the health, safety, and happiness of all our residents living with dementia. For more information on the physical symptoms of dementia or to schedule a tour of our facility today, reach out to the Buckner Westminster Place team at 903.329.6520 or online.