It’s 1:30 p.m. in the afternoon and the phone rings…it’s your doctor’s office calling to let you know that you missed your appointment earlier in the day. How could it be that you forgot? You had the “reminder card” in visual sight on the refrigerator for the last 2 months, and you wrote the appointment on your calendar! The same thing happened last month when you forgot to pay the gas and electric bill, and your daughter has been telling you that she’s worried about you because you got lost driving to the beauty parlor last week (same place you’ve been driving to weekly for the past 8 years). Can it be dementia? It possibly could. Recent studies have shown that people fear dementia far more then any other disease, even cancer. When should you worry? Everyone gets forgetful from time to time. We live such busy lives! Some of us may even be a part of the sandwich generation: taking care of our children while caring for ailing parents. However, there are some warning signs to look for that may warrant a trip to the doctor.
- Changes in Memory: Forgetting how to perform simple everyday tasks at home; forgetting important events, forgetting appointments, forgetting why they walked into a room in their house. A person may also forget names of familiar people and faces.
- Confusion with time or place: A person may forget the day of the week, month or year and become lost driving to a once familiar location; a person may dress seasonally inappropriate; meal times may become confused.
- Repetiveness: Asking the same questions repeatedly or repeating the same conversation over and over. A person may also repeatedly perform the same task over and over (wash their hands, collect “papers”) or make repeat phone calls to family or loved ones asking for the same information.
- Having difficulty finding the right words: A person may mean to say one thing but substitute words and say another. They may have difficulty communicating their thoughts or participating in a conversation.
- Poor judgement and inability to make decisions
- Losing/misplacing things
- Changes or inability to plan or solve problems: Person forgets to pay bills, can’t manage finances and banking. They may find it difficult to play games or cards that have “rules”.
- Change in mood: A person may become depressed, have a change in personality, become anxious and afraid.
- Loss of interest: A person may withdraw themselves from social situations and begin to isolate. They may no longer want to go out of their home, and may seem that their affect is flat.
- Inability to follow directions
If you or a loved one are exhibiting any of these warning signs, please consult with a physician.
There are many resources available to assist you and your loved one who may be struggling with dementia.
Harmony Village Program Director
Care One at Livingston