As of today, there are over half a million Canadians living with Dementia and Alzheimer's disease, and that number is increasing. By 2031, the number is expected to rise to 937,000, which is an increase of 66%.
Dementia is a set of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. It is progressive, and it gradually worsens as cells in the brain terminate.
If you have a loved one or a family member that you think might be affected by the disease, it is important to initiate a healthcare plan right away.
There is no denying that living with Dementia can be difficult, but with the right team of compassionate and professional health professionals who can work with your loved one in the comfort of their own home, the quality of your family member's life can remain joyful and full.
The first necessary action is to bring your family member to be professionally assessed by a Doctor. Some questions to ask are: what are the symptoms of Dementia and what are our next steps?
Here is a list of early warning signs to be mindful of and if any of these symptoms are exhibited by your loved one, let your Doctor know.
Difficulty Finding the Right Words
People with Dementia often struggle with communication, and forget words and become lost in train of thought. It can take a long time to conclude a basic conversation.
Subtle Short-Term Memory Changes
Trouble with short-term memory is very common in early Dementia. Individuals may not remember what they had for breakfast that day, and lose items frequently, such as keys or a mobile phone.
Listlessness and apathy are both common signs of Dementia. A person might lose interest in hobbies, pets, friends, and activities. Sometimes, they lose interest in spending time with family members, and appear emotionally deflated.
Changes in Mood
A drastic change in mood is a symptom of Dementia. Along with mood changes, you may notice a shift in personality in your loved one. An example of a personality shift is an individual going from being very shy to being overly outgoing, and this is because the disease affects the ability to make judgement.
Memory, judgment lapses, or confusion may arise as those living with Dementia can no longer remember faces, find the right words, or interact with people as they once used to.
Confusion can occur for a number of reasons and apply to many types of situations. For example, they may forget where they are, or have difficulty remembering someone they've met before.
Difficulty Finishing Normal Tasks
The inability to complete normal tasks is a sign of early Dementia, and this could include balancing a checkbook or following the rules of a board game. It can also be difficult to understand new rules and to follow new routines.
Repetition is common in Dementia because of memory loss and general behavioral changes. The person may repeat daily tasks, such as brushing their teeth, or they may obsessively collect items.
They may also repeatedly ask the same question, even when it has been answered.
If any of these signs sound familiar to you, contact your Doctor to discuss healthcare options - including the benefits of in-home healthcare - for your family member.
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