One of my friends whose mother and father are showing signs of dementia asked me if she should move in with them or speak with them about an assisted living place. She is single with two children. I told her that I would put it on my blog and ask the question to get some opinions. What do you think?
The following are more signs of early dementia that may impact your relationship with your mother. Take note of these additional signs.
1. Poor Judgement
Watch for changes in your mom’s decision-making abilities, rational thought processes and judgement skills. Dementia could be the culprit in making inappropriate and irresponsible decisions. A once logical decision maker who made informed decisions suddenly may begin to exhibit poor judgement. This could include actions such as losing control of her impulses which might exhibit itself by saying tactless things, etc.
2. Speaking and Language Problems
Dementia causes difficulty in processing language. Your mom may be experiencing diminishing ability to communicate due to a difficulty with vocabulary and other aspects of language. She can have trouble recalling the right words in a conversation, stop mid-sentence and become at a loss at how to continue or finish her thoughts, or use the wrong words when referring to everyday objects.
3. Changes in Grooming and Personal Hygiene.
Sudden or declining attention to personal care, such as infrequent bathing, wearing the same clothes over and over again, not brushing her teeth or combing her hair, can point to dementia. If your mom usually kept her home immaculate but suddently stops cleaning and allows dirt or clutter to accumulate, it could be a cause for concern.
4. Problems with Simple Math
In the early stages of dementia your mother may have difficulty working with numbers, including doing simple math problems. She may begin to struggle balancing her checkbook or doing simple addition and subtraction calculations.
5. Difficulty with Motor Skills
You may begin to notice that your mom is experiencing difficulties with her fine motor skills. This may prevent her from completing such tasks as buttoning her clothing, tying her shoes, holding eating utensils, or unlocking and opening a door. You may also see some difficulty holding a pen or pencil and increased difficulty in writing and signing her name.
Remember, these are signs to watch for, however, the only way to know whether these signs are age related, or signs of dementia, it’s important that you to contact your mom’s doctor about your observations and concerns.
As our mothers age, we may see changes in them that impact our relationships. Often these changes may be the result of the onset of early dementia. Be aware of these signs.
- Forgetfulness and Memory Loss
The most common symptom of most types of dementia is memory loss. Early onset of this disease can cause a person to forget entire conversations that took place only minutes ago. Early dementia usually affects short-term memory first. Your mom may have trouble remembering important dates and events and ask for the same information over and over again.
- Lack of Concentration and Increased Confusion
Getting confused about times and places is a common indicator. Your mom may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than she did before. She may forget where she is or how she got there. She can lose track of the seasons and the general passage of time.
- Losing Things
A person with early dementia may begin to put things in increasingly unusual places. Your mom may lose things and be unable to use the simple method of retracing her steps to find the items. This situation can even escalate into accusations of theft when they cannot find a personal belonging that they have unknowingly misplaced. This can lead to paranoia, and having “hiding spots” to foil the perceived thief.
- Difficulty Doing Familiar Tasks
This condition also affects the ability to do normal, everyday tasks. Your mom may also have trouble remembering how to drive, or cook a favorite recipe. Her symptoms can include a problem with depth perception, judging distance and even seeing colors.
- Personality Changes and Mood Swings
Watch for changes in personality and sudden mood swings. She could become fearful, suspicious, depressed or anxious. Your mom might have been an outgoinging social person and has become tentative and shy. If you notice an increase in any of these signs, notify your mother’s physician.