Recognising When a Loved One May Be Suffering From Dementia
One of the greatest joys in life is growing with our loved ones by our sides. However, as those we love age, increased medical and functional obstacles to their health become apparent. As changes in behaviour and wellbeing can be indicative of serious medical conditions, it is crucial that we pay careful attention.
Dementia is a disease that can present itself at any time, however, is more common during the later stages in life. Recognising when someone may be suffering from Dementia can be a scary and challenging time, so it is important to know how to be prepared and when to seek additional care.
So what is Dementia? Dementia belongs to a group of diseases that alter brain function, leading to changes in the way a person thinks, behaves, and ultimately will gravely affect their ability to perform everyday functions and take care of themselves. In most cases, Dementia cannot be attributed to genetic makeup, so it is important to understand that Dementia can affect many people. The likelihood of developing Dementia will heavily depend on a person’s age, medical history and lifestyle.
Sadly, there are no current cures or treatments to reverse the illnesses that cause Dementia, or the long-term effects that these illnesses can have on the brain. Early diagnosis of Dementia can be imperative in helping those suffering receive the support that they need, so noticing early onset symptoms within a loved one can help aid their future quality of life.
Early on-set symptoms of Dementia can include:
- Being vague in everyday conversations and finding it hard to follow stories or instructions
- Memory loss that affects day-to-day function
- Short-term memory loss
- Taking longer than usual/expressing difficulty in completing day-to-day tasks
- Changes in personality and behaviour
- Increased emotional unpredictability
While noticing these changes in a loved can be distressing, it is important to encourage them to seek medical advice should you suspect that they are suffering from early onset symptoms. It is also imperative that you or your loved one not assume that the recent changes in their health can be attributed to Dementia, as there are many medical conditions that have similar symptoms to and can mimic the disease.
Ultimately, if your loved one is diagnosed with Dementia, it will be important for you to support and aid them in navigating this new stage in their life, as diagnosis can quite often lead to feelings of anger, frustration and helplessness. However, while those diagnosed will need to take extra precautions and care to ensure that they remain safe and looked after, this does not have to entirely impact the quality of their life.
Many believe that once diagnosed with a deteriorating disease like Dementia, they will have to to join a Nursing Home or Aged Care facility to live out the rest of their days. This is very rarely true in early diagnosed patients. There are a range of care options available, such as full time or part time home care, day care, part time care, respite care and more. Australia has many choices for at-home assistance services to assist your loved one in continuing their day to day lives with ease, affording them the ability to maintain their independence and easing the transition.
If a member of your family or person you care about is experiencing symptoms that may be indicative of Dementia or another debilitating disease, it is important to help them seek medical advice. Should they receive a diagnosis, immediate intervention is necessary, which may involve consulting an at-home aged care provider. For further information, seek out a home care provider or you can also find information that may be of use on government sites like My Aged Care.