As an adult child, you may not see your aging parents every day or week, and when you visit, you may notice some changes in them that concern you. You may wonder about the signs of dementia in elderly parents. How do you know if the changes you’re seeing are normal aging or more serious indicators of possible dementia?
Some of the signs of dementia in elderly parents can be:
- Personality or uncharacteristic behavioral changes
- Increased confusion
- Gets lost going to or from a familiar place
- Repeats the same questions over and over
- Forgets a conversation you had with them earlier in the day
- Unable to recognize familiar people, places and things
- Inability to sensor or filter what they say
- Lacks initiation and motivation and ‘don’t want to’ do anything
- Withdraw from family and friends
- Confuse the past with the present
- Difficulty reading, writing, and communicating
- Poor judgment – careless with money – give it away to strangers
- Change in personal hygiene – not showering as often, wearing dirty clothes, body odor
- Short term memory loss – don’t remember things that were said or done minutes or seconds ago
- Fixate on a situation and you can’t redirect them
- Increased clutter, disorganized, stacks of magazines and unopened mail
- Can’t keep track of appointments or their finances
- Constantly misplaces things and accuse you of hiding them
If you observe some of these things, it would be helpful to have your loved one see a doctor or neuropsychologist to administer cognitive tests. A medical doctor can rule out other things that may be causing behavioral changes such as an illness, infection, side effects of medications, or other physical causes. The journey ahead can be challenging, but knowledge is power. Educate yourself about the signs of dementia in elderly parents and become familiar with the cognitive, physical, emotional and social changes dementia causes so you and your loved one can prepare for what lies ahead.
If you need dementia caregiver support, please join my dementia support group or schedule your FREE 15-minute consultation.
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