10 Warning Signs of Dementia

The risk of developing dementia goes up for every year we live. Humans are living longer than ever before, which naturally means more and more people develop dementia every year.

Alzheimer’s disease is a specific subset of dementia, but there are many different variations of this umbrella disease characterized by progressive memory disorder, personality change, and impaired reason.

But how do you differentiate between normal aging and dementia? Is Mom’s forgetting to turn off the stove a memory lapse or a sign of something more serious? If I forgot to pay a bill on time, should I be worried?

There is no straightforward way to tell the difference between dementia and normal aging. The best way is to monitor your behavior or that of a loved one. Everyone has off-days. But if a behavior has become a disturbing trend, it’s time to visit a neurologist.

Here are 10 warning signs to look out for:

  1. Memory Loss: by far the most common and well-known symptom. Forgetting names, dates, appointments, and other items is a frightening and disorienting experience. If it happens every now and then, you probably just need more sleep. But if happens all the time—or you’re forgetting significant details like your spouse’s first name—it’s probably more serious.
  2. Difficulty with familiar tasks: when cooking, doing laundry, or using the telephone becomes difficult and hard to follow.
  3. Communication difficulties: your loved one forgets everyday words and phrases, and his or her writing is much harder to decipher.
  4. Confusion: this is especially so for time and place. When a senior gets lost on their own street, or forget where they are, it’s a serious sign of dementia.
  5. Poor judgement: dressing inappropriately for the weather, buying things they don’t need, or doing unsafe things like putting foil in the microwave can all mean dementia has taken hold of their judgement.
  6. Difficulty with abstract thinking: finding math problems harder than before can be a sign of dementia.
  7. Difficulty with spatial relationships: difficulty reading, judging distance, and determining color can all mean Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia.
  8. Misplacing things: inability to retrace steps. When you lose something, you’re usually able to retrace your steps and find it. When you notice you can’t do that anymore, or you’re putting things in weird places, it may be a sign of dementia.
  9. Mood changes: mood swings, increased anger, and unprovoked aggression are all common dementia symptoms.
  10. Withdrawal: skipping events, sleeping more, or neglecting oneself can all be signs of dementia. When someone is going through early dementia, they may feel frightened and unsure of themselves, so they’ll withdraw from the world.

If you notice your loved one has stopped participating in his or her own life, find out why. Dementia may be the reason.

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month

The Alzheimer’s Association has designated June as “Azheimer’s and Brain  Awareness Month.” They invite you to “go purple” to raise awareness about the debilitating brain disease known as Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is caused by plaque buildup in the brain, and it leads to progressive mental deterioration. Symptoms develop slowly and get worse over time, until the patient requires full-time care.

Regency Nursing: A Leader in Alzheimer’s care

Here at Regency Nursing, we’re the experts in New Jersey dementia and Alzheimer’s care. Living with Alzheimer’s can be a frightening experience for a person whose sense of self and security is slowly eroding. We treat  each dementia patient with compassion and love—as if they were our own family members. At Regency Nursing, you can be sure your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia will be cared for in a safe, warm environment.

Today we join in the Alzheimer’s Association’s efforts to raise awareness about this crippling disease. Very often, seniors brush off early Alzheimer’s warning signs as just “normal aging.” By the time the disease advances to the point where symptoms are very obvious, it’s often too late to slow the progression. On the other hand, when we catch Alzheimer’s early, it’s often possible to slow the rate of further decline.

Another benefit to getting an early diagnosis is the sense of empowerment it provides. A senior who is still mostly cognitively healthy may feel scared and powerless when she’s first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, but there’s a major hidden benefit. She can participate in—or even lead—her own legal, financial, and long-term care planning. There’s time for her to express her wishes to her family, sign a POA enabling a loved one to make decisions when she no longer can, and draft a living will. For resources and support after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, visit the Alzheimer’s Association’s website.

Alzheimer’s Warning Signs

Here are some common red flags that say you may be facing Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  • Planning and problem-solving challenges
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks
  • Confusion with time or place
  • Trouble with visual images and spatial relationships
  • New problems speaking or writing
  • Misplacing things and trouble retracing steps
  • Decreased or poor judgement
  • Withdrawing from normal activities
  • Changes in mood or personality

Early diagnosis is key when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. For more information about these warning signs, see the Alzheimer’s Association‘s information page.

Skilled Nursing in New Jersey For Alzheimer’s Patients

Regency Nursing & Rehabilitation Centers and Facilities in New Jersey, has garnered a well deserved reputation for the compassionate and dedicated treatment of their Alzheimer patients. Regency combines a holistic and rigorous approach to care, while infusing love and laughter into the lives of their patients and residents!  

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Regency Nursing - Where The Caring Comes To Life!
Regency Nursing – Where The Caring Comes To Life!

Alzheimer’s is a disease that attacks brain cells and results in impaired memory, thinking and behavior. Scientists are still not certain what causes Alzheimer’s. Family history and age have been identified as potential factors, however it is likely that a number of things contribute to it. Although there is no known cure for the disease, each year researchers are uncovering more clues and developing treatment options.

Medication and non-drug therapies are available to reduce some behavioral symptoms such as depression, sleeplessness and agitation.

Skilled Nursing Care for People with Alzheimer’s

A skilled nursing setting, provides the Alzheimer patient with compassionate and quality medical care. Resident rooms may be private or shared and some settings may have special units or wings that cater exclusively for persons with dementia. The number of staff to resident ratio will be different from place to place, as will the knowledge and training of staff in caring for a perosn with the disease. Regulated and licensed by the state and/or federal government, most skilled nursing facilities provide specific structured activities programs for their Alzheimer patients.

Upon admission into a skilled nursing home, the Alzheimer patient will be assessed. While encouraged to function at maximum abilities, they will not be expected to perform skills that they are no longer capable of. Settings of this type are appropriate for people with middle, late and end stages of the disease.