How to Recognize the Signs of Dementia

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While dementia is common among seniors, not every senior will suffer from what can be a debilitating impairment. So, you notice little things that make you question whether or not your aging parent is experiencing dementia because you really don’t know what you are looking for.  

The Relationship Between Alzheimer’s and Dementia

One of the most common mistakes many people make is to equate Alzheimer’s disease with dementia. Actually, they are not the same thing at all. Alzheimer’s is a disease while dementia is specifically related to the mind and memory. Therefore, if you notice memory lapses in an aging parent or closely related senior, it may be either or. Both Alzheimer’s and dementia are characterized through memory loss but Alzheimer’s disease also carries with it an assortment of physiological changes as well. Before assuming it’s simply age-related dementia, it is best to consult a geriatric specialist or neurologist who will perform tests to narrow down a diagnosis.

Short Term Memory Loss

Seniors suffering from dementia typically notice short term memory lost as the first warning sign. They will turn the stove on to heat water for tea or forget to take their insulin shot at the prescribed time and in the prescribed amount. If you notice a senior forgetting an inordinate amount of things, this is a telltale sign that they are suffering from dementia. If those short-term memory lapses endanger their lives, it might be time to check out assisted living Myrtle Beach SC communities such as Portside at Grande Dunes. There, seniors suffering from dementia will have a care team 24/7 to make sure they aren’t forgetting something that will endanger their life.

When Words Fail You

Whether you are concerned with whether or not you are suffering from dementia or are worried about a loved one who might be exhibiting the early signs of dementia, one common symptom is struggling to find the right word, aphasia. This happens to all of us, even in our younger years; however, those suffering from dementia find that the inability to find the right word is progressing. It is becoming more and more frequent.

Frequent Unexplained Mood Swings

Here is another symptom of dementia that happens to the best of us from time to time. Sometimes it’s hormonal and other times mood swings are brought on by an inordinate amount of stress in our lives. Those suffering from dementia, however, will exhibit extreme mood swings for no apparent reason. They’ll be laughing and happy one moment and in the blink of an eye they will be screaming at you in the heat of anger.

All of the above are symptoms, warning signs, of dementia but they are also warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease as well. It is noted that between half and three-quarters of all seniors exhibiting dementia are also suffering from Alzheimer’s. This is why it is important to get a definite diagnoses. Dementia may be worrisome because of progressive memory loss, but Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that will also result in physical impairments as well. Sadly, Alzheimer’s is terminal but there are advances in medicine that can lengthen a sufferer’s lifespan. It pays to know the difference and which treatments are right for you or your loved one.


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