Dementia Signs: Four Possible Conversations With Mom (or Dad)

Do any of these situations sounds familiar?

  • “Dad has always been outgoing and social – he never knew a stranger and always had something going on. But over the last year, we have seen changes in him. He can’t seem to remember the names of his friends and we have noticed that he is wearing the
    same shirt every time I visit.”
  • “When I was helping mom at her house this weekend, I found a stack of bills in her bedroom that were not opened and her checkbook was a mess!”
  • The police called me late last night and said they were with my father. He had been driving, got lost, and ran out of gas. He was 30 miles from his house.”
  • “I was visiting dad, I noticed that his medications were all over the place and it looks like he hasn’t been taking them at all. I am worried that he is forgetting to take them, but I don’t know how to approach him. Dad has always been a proud man.”

(These are actual conversations we have had with families.)

Do any of these situations sounds familiar? Are you worried about a loved one doing or saying things that are ‘just not like them’? If so, you are not alone – you are part of a growing community of families and friends. A community of millions, and that number grows every day. A community whose members share a common thread: those that live with or are caring
for a loved one with dementia.

It is estimated that over 50 million people worldwide are living with a dementia diagnosis. In the US, the number is estimated to be 5 million, and the projections are alarming: by 2050, that number will nearly TRIPLE to 14 million. As advances in medicine have improved the human lifespan, people are living longer and more and more will be faced dementia in their
future.

‘But mom is just having ‘senior moments’ – is it really dementia?

We all forget things at times.

“Where are my car keys?”
“Where did I leave my jacket?”

These are common frustrations that adults of all ages experience on a regular basis – many times because we are trying to do too many things at once and are in a hurry. We sometimes say we are having a ‘senior moment’ when this happens. We still remember what
our keys are for or how to dress when we find our winter coat. To an individual living with dementia, this is where the difference lies. That individual, while physically capable, may no longer be able to process the steps or have the judgement needed to drive a car, or connect cold weather with the need to wear a coat.

Dementia is a term used to describe effects on memory, cognition, speech, and judgement. These effects are caused by underlying disease processes that change the way we perceive, interpret, and respond to the information that our brain receives. Alzheimer’s disease
is usually what people think of when they hear the word dementia. However, there are many types of dementia in addition to Alzheimer’s disease. These include vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, and frontotemporal dementia.

Not everyone with dementia has Alzheimer’s,
but everyone with Alzheimer’s has dementia.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for roughly 60%- 80% of dementia diagnoses.

Alzheimer’s and dementia is a complex issue with many moving parts, affecting both the individual and their families. Over the course of the next several weeks, we will be posting a series of articles that address issues of importance for families and caregivers:

  • Understanding the stages of dementia
  • When is home no longer safe?
  • Talking to your loved one about care options
  • Understanding care options
  • Where do I go for help
  • How can I afford care services?

At Grand Brook Memory Care, part of our family’s commitment to dementia care is providing families with information and resources and to empower them to make informed decisions and provide the best care for their loved ones. Our caring, professional staff are always available to answer your questions. Please call us at (469) 964-5727 if we can help.