While dementia diagnoses have become more common, it is not a normal part of aging. Oftentimes, Dementia can be mistaken for medical conditions which can be treated. For example, urinary tract infections, side effects from certain medications, vitamin deficiencies, and thyroid or kidney problems can all cause serious memory problems and mimic tell-tale signs of dementia. Dementia is a variety of symptoms affecting a person’s cognitive functioning (their ability to think, reason, make good judgement or reason), which interferes with their daily life and activities. Cognitive and neuropsychological testing should be completed to determine if your loved one has dementia or is suffering from another medical issue.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Dementia is not a single disease; it’s an overall term – like heart disease – that covers a wide range of medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease. Disorders grouped under the general term “dementia” are caused by abnormal brain changes. These changes trigger a decline in thinking skills, also known as cognitive abilities, severe enough to impair daily life and independent function. They also affect behavior, feelings, and relationships.”
Some key warning signs of dementia:
- Memory loss – confusion around dates, events, names or new information
- Difficulty planning or problem-solving – following a recipe, paying bills or understanding directions
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks such as turning on a television, driving directions to a familiar location, or preparing meals
- Confusion with time, place, or names – forgetting where they are or remembering relatives.
- Misplacing items – frequently misplacing or hiding items
- Repetition – with daily tasks, collection of items
Understanding that forgetfulness and memory problems do not always point to a dementia diagnosis, it is important to speak with a doctor and not ignore the signs and symptoms of changes. A neurologist will examine your loved one’s mental and physical health to determine dementia or another cognitive problem. A complete service of mental and memory tests, neurological exams, blood tests and brain imaging should be conducted to attain a formal diagnosis.
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Dovetail Companies provides one point of contact for all services seniors may need when transitioning from their longtime home, minimizing stress and providing peace of mind to focus on the transition rather than the logistics. Dovetail Companies is the parent company to three subsidiary companies; Dovetail Support Services, Dovetail Financial and Dovetail Real Estate Group. For more information, visit www.dovetailcompanies.com or call 617-227-1600.