If there were one adage that proved true throughout life and at all ages, it would be that growing up is scary. Certainly scary towards the beginning; youth walk a thin line between the desire to rebel and the yearning to fit in, but it can also be scary towards the end. As the body ages, it requires increased levels of care and monitoring. Cholesterol, blood pressure, and heartburn; are all considered incredibly common once an individual has reached a certain age. While these conditions may seem scary upon their first encounter, they can be remedied through treatment and alterations in diet and routine.
What is more problematic are issues related to cognition and memory. Just as the body experiences wear and tear with age, so does the brain. For seniors, this can manifest in many ways, one of which is dementia. Dementia is a condition that broad with a broad definition. It is not an illness in and of itself; instead, it is a term used to describe multiple health issues’ effects on the mind and memory.
Learning that a loved one has dementia can be a frightening experience, but in this instance, knowledge is a friend whose companionship cannot be underestimated. At Westminster Place, we offer a wide variety of evidence-based memory care services and treat all stages of dementia.
Does Dementia Cause Memory Loss?
Dementia, in its simplest form, is a group of symptoms caused by other health issues. Issues such as degenerative neurological diseases (Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s) or vascular disorders affect blood circulation to the brain. To this extent, yes, dementia can cause memory loss, but the effects of dementia are not solely limited to memory issues. Dementia symptoms can also include:
- Communication problems
- Word recall issues
- Issues in concentration
- Getting lost in familiar settings
- Forgetting the names of loved ones and family members
- Confusion regarding scheduling
- Behavioral changes
When caring for someone with dementia, knowing and understanding its early signs, stages, and treatment options is essential. There, unfortunately, is no cure for dementia. However, early diagnosis has been shown to improve cognition and decrease the severity and memory-related symptoms.
What Are the Early Signs of Dementia?
The early signs of dementia are often demonstrated through short-term memory problems. Some individuals may forget where they placed something they just put down, get lost in thought during the conversation, or become confused in the face of complex but familiar tasks. Other early signs can be seen in personality changes, such as mood swings, depression, agitation, and paranoia. The appearance and severity of these signs are heavily dependent on the stage of dementia someone experiences. These stages of dementia are:
- Stage one – No symptoms, although tests may come back positive
- Stage two – Extremely mild decline, which may include some behavioral changes
- Stage three – Mild decline, often demonstrated through noticeable changes in the reasoning and thought patterns
- Stage four – Moderate decline, shown through consistent memory issues regarding scheduling, plans, and word recall
- Stage five – Moderate to severe decline, demonstrated by increasing memory issues regarding familiar topics, people, and settings. Those at this stage may require additional assistance in day-to-day functions
- Stage six – Severe decline. Those at this stage will have severe difficulty remembering loved ones and past events and require assistance eating and going to the restroom
- Stage seven – Very severe decline, demonstrated through the inability to speak one’s thoughts and communicate. Mobility is likely to become impaired, requiring assistance in all physical activities
While there is no stopping the effects of dementia, its effects can be slowed with proper treatment and mental stimulation. That is why it is of the utmost importance to be aware of the early signs of dementia so that treatment may be received as soon as possible.
Quality Care for Dementia Patients at Westminster Place
At Westminster Place, we understand how memory impairment can affect an individual and their family. That is why we created our memory care program, The Harbor, so residents with dementia and other memory-related conditions can continue leading meaningful lives filled with the compassion and support of their loved ones. For more information on the stages of dementia or to schedule an appointment today, contact us at 903.329.6520.