Identifying the Early Signs of Dementia

Dementia is a term that describes a series of symptoms affecting an individual’s cognitive functioning. This includes the ability to think, reason, and remember. Dementia is a set of diseases that worsen with time, so it is critical to be aware of early warning signs.

Dementia-related diseases come in many shapes and forms, and although they are not limited to Seniors, older adults are more susceptible to Dementia because of the brain’s natural deterioration with age.

If someone you love has exhibited irregular behaviour recently and you’re worried about the possibility of them developing Dementia, make it a priority to know what the early symptoms are. It is important to educate yourself on your Dementia Care options.

Many people don’t know that reliable Senior home healthcare options are available from Dementia Care educated and trained healthcare professionals.

Integracare is an at-home Senior health care agency that specializes in Dementia Care and delivers outstanding service to Clients who have been diagnosed with the disease. We believe that Clients and families should be proactive in learning how to cope with Dementia. Living with Dementia poses an incredible challenge, and we have nothing but empathy and compassion to give.

Learning about the disease can help people living with Dementia and their support network to better understand how to exhibit compassion and empathy with educated guidance. If your loved one does, in fact, have Dementia, a Personal Support Worker (PSW) or a Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) can work with you to build a compassionate and nurturing space at home, and help to confront the disease head-on by increasing their quality of life with round-the-clock care.

Types of Dementia

There are many types of Dementia, although according to the National Institute of Aging, Alzheimer’s disease (which causes brain cells to degenerate) is the most common. Other common types include:

  • Vascular Dementia — this occurs when the brain’s blood supply is damaged or blocked, causing brain cells to be deprived of oxygen
  • Lewy Body Dementia — this occurs because of abnormal deposits of alpha-synuclein (a type of protein) inside the brain’s nerve cells. They interrupt the brain’s message system causing disruptions to thinking and movement
  • Mixed Dementia — this is a combination of Alzheimer’s disease and Vascular Dementia

There are several other types of Dementia, including more rare forms of the illness, yet most exhibit symptoms of memory loss and change in personality.

Familiarize yourself with these common early Dementia symptoms below.

Trouble with Problem Solving

A person living with early stages of Dementia may exhibit an inability to solve simple problems or to follow basic instructions. For example, they may find it difficult to follow a plan such as a recipe that they’ve been making for years or directions when driving. They may also find it hard to pay bills or to add numbers correctly.

Integracare’s Toronto Dementia Care services and Caregivers communicate openly with our Clients’ family members and friends. We want everyone to be on the same page, including your loved one’s doctors and healthcare team.

If we notice risky problem-solving behaviour such as an inability to count numbers or anything else that prompts concern, you’ll know right away.

At home, we can help monitor their behaviour and to assist whenever necessary. Our Personal Support Workers and Registered Practical Nurses are trained to work with Clients living with Dementia. We have an exclusive partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society of Toronto where 100% of our Caregivers receive regular training and educational sessions in all four facets of Dementia Care.

We’re proud and honoured to say that we’re the only home healthcare provider with this distinction. Our Caregivers are trained to communicate with Clients in an understanding manner when signs of problem-solving issues are displayed.

If you’re worried about someone you love, be sure to keep on the lookout for any sort of noticeable change in his or her problem-solving abilities.

Memory Loss

Memory Loss

It can be tricky to differentiate between age-related memory loss and memory loss caused by Dementia. As we get older, it is quite common to experience a little lapse in memory from time to time.

Running into someone and forgetting their name is a normal part of ageing (and let’s face it — this is an embarrassing situation that could happen at any age) but not being able to recognize someone close to you is an entirely different thing. This is a concerning sign that might suggest your loved one is developing a form of Dementia.

When memory loss begins to disrupt daily life, it becomes a real problem. Here are signs and symptoms that could indicate Dementia:

  • Confusion about time or place
  • Forgetting important dates such as birthdays, anniversaries, and appointments
  • Repeating things or asking the same thing over and over
  • Not recognizing family members and friends

If you notice severe memory changes in your loved one, don’t waste any time. Consult with a doctor immediately and consider the benefits of our services at Integracare. We can help increase your loved one’s quality of life with live-in care for Seniors and making sure that they’re always cared for and never lost in confusion or alone.

Personality and Mood Changes

Individuals with Dementia may experience severe changes in personality and mood. They can become suspicious for no reason, depressed, confused, anxious, or fearful. When out of their comfort zone they may become easily upset or even become angry with friends or family.

Sometimes, changes in personality can turn into aggressive and even threatening behaviour. This is usually a result of a need not being met or that the individual is uncomfortable and they’re unable to express exactly what it is that they need.

Behavioural changes are sometimes linked to a change in environment. Integracare believes that staying at home is often the best solution for individuals with early Dementia because people living with Dementia are able to stay in a familiar and comfortable place.

It may be easier for a Caregiver or a family member to assist a person living with Dementia in a known space when personality or mood changes occur, as opposed to a foreign or unfamiliar setting.

Social Withdrawal

An individual with Dementia may increasingly become uninterested in socializing with others, whether it is at work, home, or elsewhere.

Your loved one may become withdrawn and not want to talk to others or stop paying attention when others are speaking to them. They might stop engaging in hobbies or sports that involve other people.

It is important to understand why they’re withdrawing from people. As the disease progresses withdrawal becomes more likely, but this doesn’t mean that it’s directly caused by Dementia. A person living with Dementia is far more likely to experience feelings of isolation or boredom.

They tend to spend more time alone, and even when they’re with others, it might be difficult to form conversation. If no one else does anything to engage their attention the individual will have no choice but to retreat into their own thoughts.

Talk to your loved one and pay attention to how they respond to you. Perhaps the signs aren’t fully visible but if you notice that they’re retreating or withdrawing from social activity, consider a trip to the doctor.

Know that we’re always here to help and our Caregivers know the symptoms and signs of Dementia. We actively engage with our Clients to keep their minds and memories alert, and if we notice changes in behaviour that include withdrawal, we would contact you immediately.

Dementia is complicated and complex. As it progresses, the disease takes a real toll on families and friends because it’s difficult to watch someone you love suffer. Unfortunately, as of today, there isn’t a cure for Dementia. However, there are ways to encourage emotional and physical support and to maintain mental stimulation.

Our expertly trained and compassionate Caregivers are there to notice any signs of Dementia and will be there by your side every step of the way.