A progressive neurological disorder which affects millions worldwide, dementia is an issue that can never be taken lightly. Women are highly vulnerable to dementia onset. For caregivers and loved ones, it is important for them to understand the early signs of dementia in women allowing for timely diagnosis and management of the disease.
Both directly and indirectly, women are disproportionately affected by cognitive decline. In this article, we delve into the key signs which indicate the onset of dementia in women.
Early Signs of Dementia in Women
Dementia is not a normal part of the aging process. Recognizing the early signs can help improve the quality of life for the affected people. Some of these signs may manifest in women as follows:
Women with dementia may find remembering the most recent events difficult. From struggling to remember recent conversations to failing to recall events in the recent past, women with dementia often tend to forget the essential details.
Problem-solving becomes a challenge for women who have dementia as well. And here, we refer to problems such as following a recipe for pasta or paying the utility bill at a time. Concentrating on a problem and making timely decisions about it becomes a challenge for poor souls.
The ability to express and communicate coherently is significantly hampered in people with dementia. Women who fall prey to this neurological disorder often struggle to find the right words and phrases necessary for proper communication.
Common early signs of dementia in women include:
Changes in mood & personality
Overall decline in judgement
Cognitive Decline in Women
There is a particular pattern of cognitive decline in women who have dementia. Understanding this pattern can help a lot in identifying potential dementia.
Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), a condition characterized by mild memory and cognitive issues, is experienced by some women before the full onset of dementia. MCI is noticeable but not severe enough to significantly interfere with daily life.
Women who suffer from MCI are at a higher risk of developing dementia later. It is pertinent to mention here that monitoring these cognitive changes can be instrumental in detecting the transition to dementia.
Memory Loss in Elderly Women
Are all memory lapses because of dementia? Certainly not, which is why it is essential to characterize the memory lapse related dementia symptoms in women.
Dementia-related memory loss is quite severe; it can significantly affect and hamper the quality of life. From forgetting crucial appointments and calls to struggling to recall crucial information.
In comparison, regular age-related memory changes are not this severe. From misplacing items occasionally to forgetting the names of a person or place, age-related memory loss is rarely a cause for concern.
Dementia Warning Signs for Females
Timely medical attention and support are possible if the early signs of dementia in women can be identified. Because women with dementia find it hard to complete daily tasks, they begin to shy away from them, consciously or subconsciously.
So keeping an eye on something like this is one way of recognizing if things are going south. In some instances, withdrawal isn’t limited to the kitchen only. Social withdrawal, i.e. abstaining from social gatherings, losing interest in hobbies and saying no thanks to parties because of the embarrassment associated with cognitive difficulties, is common in women with dementia.
And last but not least, impaired visual perception, i.e. difficulty in judging distance or identifying colors and contrasts, is also a significant dementia warning sign for females. One realizes the magnitude of the problem when viewed in the scope of activities requiring proper visual ability, such as reading or driving.
Recognizing Dementia in Women
Let us try to tabulate what we have learned in this brief:
Spotting dementia in women is vital for early intervention and caregiving.
It is imperative to look out for early signs like memory lapses, difficulty completing tasks, and issues with coherence.
Women with dementia may are often prone to disorientation and personality changes, memory loss in elderly women is common as well.
Attention to dementia warning signs for females such as mood swings, social withdrawal, and impaired judgment is crucial.
After recognizing dementia in women, seeking professional evaluation and support is the way forward. Discussing these issues with a dementia care specialist can help a lot. For example, the patient might be in need of Sundowning dementia treatment, which requires a precise approach to the problem.
Early diagnosis allows for improved quality of life for women living with dementia.
Stay vigilant, and offer empathy and understanding to those experiencing cognitive decline.
With timely recognition, appropriate care and assistance can be provided. Diet for dementia patient, especially issues such as vascular dementia and eating problems are something that must be left to the experts only.
Early Signs of Dementia in Women – Final Thoughts
So there we are. Women experience higher disability-adjusted life years and mortality due to dementia, however, they also provide 70% of care hours for people living with dementia.
Hopefully, these lines helped you identify the major ways dementia can affect women. On that optimistic note, we bid you farewell from this – early signs of dementia in women – brief.
The intention of this article is to assist our readers with selecting a cognitive test for dementia.
Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia is a complex illness that can have many different symptoms and causes. As a preliminary test of a person’s cognitive abilities a cognitive test can be used. There are various cognitive tests that practitioners use.
The common tests include:
Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). Assesses cognitive function in areas such as memory, attention, and language.
Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA). Designed to identify mild cognitive impairment and early-onset dementia.
Clock Drawing Test (CDT). Assesses a person’s ability to recognize and replicate a visual stimulus. The simple test gives insight into cognitive abilities such as spatial awareness and executive function.
Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam (SAGE). Detects early signs of cognitive, memory, and thinking impairments.
We discuss each of these tests in greater depth further into this article.
Note: the tests we have listed are preliminary tests. No single cognitive test for dementia can conclusively diagnose dementia. To have a correct diagnosis and develop a treatment plan, a thorough evaluation by a qualified medical professional is necessary.
The Importance of Early Diagnosis Using a Cognitive Test For Dementia
Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease are progressive brain disorders affecting memory, concentration, behavior, and emotion. Dementia is the main cause of disability and dependency amongst the elderly.
For the best and most suitable treatment and care it is important to have an early diagnosis.
Access to treatment
There are treatments, therapies and medications that help with managing and treating some forms of dementia. With early detection, treatments can be accessed quickly. By doing so, quality of life can be improved, and the progression of the disease may be reduced.
When dementia is diagnosed early, plans can be made ahead. Affected people are able to make necessary lifestyle changes, and put legal and financial affairs in order while the person with early dementia is still able to participate in decision-making.
Early diagnosis allows for early support services for the person with dementia and their family. Appropriate support services would include counseling, education, and caregiver training.
To help with efforts to better understand dementia, develop new treatments, and improve care for people with Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia, it is beneficial when the disease is detected early with individuals.
Overall, early detection of dementia is important for improving outcomes for people with this illness. It benefits loved ones caring for a dementia patient, as well as for advancing understanding of this complex condition and how to better approach it with treatment.
4 Common Cognitive Tests for Dementia
1. Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE)
The Mini-Mental State Examination is a cognitive test for dementia designed to assess cognitive function in adults. A series of questions are asked and participants complete tasks that evaluate various cognitive domains (orientation, attention, memory, language, and visuospatial skills).
The test takes 10-15 minutes and is scored out of 30. Higher scores indicate better cognitive function.
The test has been used widely. It is considered to be a reliable and valid measure of cognitive function.
It is not a complete diagnostic tool for dementia and therefore should be used in conjunction with other diagnostic measures conducted by a medical professional.
A limitation of the MMSE is the potential cultural and educational biases. This may affect the accuracy of the test for people who speak a foreign language or have a different cultural background.
The Clock Drawing Test is a very popular, simple cognitive test for dementia. It is designed to detect early signs of dementia.
It tests visuospatial and executive function by requiring the person to draw a clock face from memory and set the time to a specific hour.
The clock test evaluates different aspects of the drawing. These include; the placement and size of the numbers, hands, and clock face.
Scoring the test is based on factors such as placement, size, and symmetry. The CDT can be a stand-alone test or used in combination with other cognitive tests. It is a sensitive and specific measure of cognitive impairment.
There are some limitations, such as the possibility of cultural and educational biases. Although it can be used as a stand-alone test, it is best used in conjunction with other tests.
The Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam is a quick to administer screening tool. The test assesses various cognitive domains that include orientation, language, memory, visuospatial abilities, executive function, and social cognition.
The SAGE takes 15-20 minutes to complete and consists of 12 questions.
This cognitive test for dementia is designed to be easily administered and scored by people with no formal training in cognitive testing.
It has proven to be a reliable and valid measure of cognitive function.
The SAGE can be self-administered. This allows people to conduct the test in the comfort of their own home.
Individuals can download and print a PDF of the test for administering.
The test should not be used as a sole basis for a dementia diagnosis.
Developed as an alternative to the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE)
Assesses visuospatial and executive function
Assesses various cognitive domains: orientation, language, memory, visuospatial abilities, executive function, and social cognition
Consists of a series of questions and tasks
Assesses various cognitive domains: attention, memory, language, visuospatial skills, and executive function
Requires the individual to draw a clock face from memory and set the time to a specific hour
Consists of 12 questions
Evaluates various cognitive domains: orientation, attention, memory, language, and visuospatial skills
Consists of 30 items
Used to detect early signs of cognitive impairment and dementia
Takes approximately 15-20 minutes to complete
Takes approximately 10-15 minutes to administer
Takes approximately 10-15 minutes to administer
Evaluates various aspects of clock drawing, including placement and size of numbers, hands, and clock face
Designed to be easily administered and scored by individuals with no formal training in cognitive testing
Scored out of 30 points
A score of 26 or higher out of 30 is considered normal
Scores are based on a variety of factors, including placement, size, and symmetry
Reliable and valid measure of cognitive function in older adults
Higher scores indicate better cognitive function
More sensitive than the MMSE in detecting mild cognitive impairment and early-stage dementia
Can be used alone or in combination with other cognitive tests
Useful tool for identifying early signs of cognitive impairment and dementia
Reliable and valid measure of cognitive function
Validated in a variety of populations
Has been shown to be a sensitive and specific measure of cognitive impairment in dementia
Self-administered, allowing individuals to assess their own cognitive function in the comfort of their own home
Used extensively in clinical and research settings
Translated into multiple languages
Has some limitations, such as the possibility of cultural and educational biases
To be used in conjunction with other diagnostic measures
To be used in conjunction with other diagnostic measures
Useful for assessing cognitive function in diverse populations
To be used in conjunction with other diagnostic measures
Not to be used as a sole basis for a dementia diagnosis
Not a definitive diagnostic tool for dementia
To be used in conjunction with other diagnostic measures
Potential cultural and educational biases should be considered
Not to be used as a sole basis for a dementia diagnosis
How a Cognitive Test for Dementia Works
A person’s cognitive function are assessed using these screening tools. The tests identify mental processes such as attention, memory, language, and visual-spatial ability.
Cognitive strengths and weaknesses are identified as well as impairment or decline. The results help in the diagnosis of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
5 Cognitive Domains Assessed by These Tests:
5 Cognitive Domains Assessed by These Tests:
Orientation: Assesses a person’s awareness of time, place, and the ability to recognize and recall details about their surroundings.
Attention: Tests focus and the ability to maintain attention on certain tasks, and the ability to switch attention between different tasks.
Memory: Tests short-term and long-term memory. Assessing the ability to encode, store, and retrieve information.
Language: Can the patient communicate effectively? This test assesses the ability to understand and use language, both verbally and in writing, to express themselves, and comprehending spoken and written language.
Visual-spatial ability: Can the patient perceive and manipulate visual information? The test assesses the ability to recognize and interpret shapes, sizes, and spatial relationships.
Cognitive tests evaluate the domains through a range of tasks. Examples include: recalling a list of words, naming objects or pictures, drawing a clock face, or following complex instructions.
The person’s performance on these tasks, provides insights into their cognitive abilities and identify areas of impairment or decline.
Interpreting Cognitive Test For Dementia Results
To interpret results the practitioner requires a good understanding of the type of test being used. Also, the patient’s medical history, current symptoms, and other diagnostic information would be required.
Health professionals, such as psychiatrists, neurologists, and neuropsychologists, are usually responsible for interpreting cognitive test results.
When interpreting results, doctors consider a range of factors. These include:
The raw score on each test provide important information about a person’s cognitive abilities. This helps identify areas of strength and weakness.
Age and education level
It is important to take into consideration age and education level. This can have a large sway on cognitive function.
Knowing an individual’s medical history provide important context for interpreting test results. Any previous diagnoses or treatment for cognitive impairment or dementia should be noted.
Current symptoms and level of functioning may also provide important understandings into the severity and nature of their cognitive impairment.
Other diagnostic information
Medical practitioners will interpret test results in conjunction with other diagnostic information. This information may include imaging studies or laboratory tests. By doing so a more thorough understanding of the person’s cognitive function is established.
Scoring Systems for Various Cognitive Tests
Each test has a different method of scoring.
Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE)
The test assesses orientation, attention, memory, language, and visual-spatial ability.
The test presents a series of questions. Each question is given a score based on the individual’s response.
The maximum possible score on the MMSE is 30. A score of 24 or lower indicating possible cognitive impairment.
Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA)
This test assesses similar cognitive domains to the MMSE, but includes more complex tasks and measures.
The test gives a series of questions. Each is assigned a score based on the individual’s response.
The maximum possible score on the MoCA is 30. A score of 26 or lower indicates that there is possible cognitive impairment.
Clock Drawing Test (CDT)
This cognitive test for dementia assesses visual-spatial ability and executive function. The person being tested is given specific instructions requiring him/her to draw a clock face. The drawing is given a score based on accuracy and completeness.
The test is scored on a 6-point scale, with lower scores showing greater impairment.
Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam (SAGE)
The SAGE assesses orientation, language, memory, visuospatial abilities, executive function, and social cognition.
The test gives a series of questions. Each question is given a score based on responses.
The maximum possible score on the SAGE is 22. A score of 14 or lower indicates that there is possible cognitive impairment.
Cognitive tests are scored based on the person’s performance on specific tasks or questions. Lower scores indicate greater impairment.
To provide a full understanding of a person’s cognitive function. Cognitive test for dementia scores should be taken in the context of the individual’s age, education level, medical history, and other diagnostic information.
Diagnoses and Treatment Plans
Cognitive test results are used to help diagnose and develop treatment plans for early dementia. Here are some ways that test results are used:
A Dementia Neurologist will diagnose early dementia by looking at the results of a cognitive test for dementia.
Tests such as the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), and Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam (SAGE) are all used to assess cognitive function and identify potential areas of impairment.
Results of these tests can help Doctors assess the severity of early dementia.
Scores on tests such as the MMSE, MoCA, and SAGE can be used to measure the degree of cognitive impairment and by repeating the test, track changes in cognitive function over time.
From this information, the development of treatment plans that are suited to specific needs of the person can be developed.
Individualized treatment plans for people with early dementia can be developed using results from tests.
Such plans may include medication to manage symptoms, cognitive rehabilitation therapy to improve cognitive function, and lifestyle modifications to promote overall health and well-being.
The specifics of the treatment plan will depend on the collation of information from test results, medical history, and other diagnostic information.
Healthcare professionals can monitor the progression of early dementia over time by analysing test results.
By regularly testing, Doctors can track changes in cognitive function and, if required, adjust treatment plans.
A comprehensive assessment of cognitive function assist Doctors develop individualized treatment plans that address the unique needs of each person with early dementia.
Limitations of a Cognitive Test for Dementia
A cognitive test for dementia can be useful in assessing cognitive function and identifying potential areas of impairment, however, there are limitations to their use in diagnosing dementia. Here are some to consider:
Cultural and linguistic biases
Cultural and linguistic biases with some of the tests can impact test performance. For example, tests that rely heavily on language may be more difficult for individuals who speak a different language or who come from a different cultural background.
People with low education levels may present less accurate test results. Some questions may be more difficult for those with less formal education.
With repeated testing, individuals may improve their performance on cognitive tests. This can make it difficult to accurately assess changes in cognitive function over time.
Some medical conditions, such as depression or anxiety, can impact test performance. Such conditions may need to be considered in the diagnostic process.
Lack of Sensitivity
Some tests may not be sensitive enough to detect early stages of dementia or subtle changes in cognitive function.
Cognitive Test for Dementia – Final Thoughts
Cognitive tests play a vital role in detecting early signs of dementia. Detecting dementia early is important for effective management and treatment of the condition.
People who feel they, or someone they know, may be experiencing cognitive decline should seek professional medical advice as soon as possible. Start by talking to a primary care physician or a specialist in dementia.
Early diagnosis and treatment can help slow the progression of dementia and improve quality of life for both the individual and their caregivers.
Lifestyle considerations such as regular physical exercise, a balanced diet, and mental stimulation will contribute to promote better brain health and potentially reduce the risk of dementia.
The SAGE test includes several features that make useful as a screening tool:
Features of the SAGE Dementia Test
Self-administered: The cognitive test can be taken by the person being screened, without the need for a healthcare professional to administer it.
Brief: Only 15 minutes to needed to complete the test.
Simple language: It uses easy-to-understand language minimizing confusion and helping ensure responses are accurate.
Four cognitive domains: Cognitive function are assessed in four key domains. These are orientation, language, memory, and visuospatial ability.
Cultural neutrality: It is designed to be culturally neutral, meaning it can be utilized by people from diverse backgrounds and languages.
Scoring system: The test has a scoring system that helps to interpret results and identify dementia.
Note that the SAGE dementia test is not a diagnostic tool on its own. A thorough assessment by a qualified medical professional is necessary to determine a diagnosis of dementia or cognitive impairment.
Administering the SAGE Dementia Test
The test has four parts, each of which including questions/tasks that patients must complete. Here’s a sample of questions/tasks that patients may be asked to do during the SAGE test:
Orientation: Questions to gauge the orientation to time and place. For example: “What is today’s date?” or “Where are we right now?”
Language: Recall the names of animals, name common items and describe similarities between objects.
Reasoning: Solve simple mathematical problems, identify the next number in a sequence, and follow a set of instructions.
Visuospatial skills: Draw a clock face and set the time to a specific hour, and to identify the missing parts in a picture.
Also, the SAGE dementia test includes questions that assess executive function. Examples include: identifying the appropriate word to complete a sentence and recalling details from a short story.
Scoring and Interpreting the SAGE Cognitive Assessment
Scoring and interpreting the Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam involves the following steps:
SAGE Test Scoring
Each question is scored separately. The total number of correct responses provide a raw score. A higher score indicates better cognitive function.
SAGE Test Interpretation
Taking into consideration of age and education level, this raw score is then converted to a standardized score. By doing so, it identifies and accounts for potential biases and differences in cognitive function that are based on factors to do with demographic.
The standardized score can then be compared to cut-off scores to identify the likelihood of dementia. For example, a score below a certain level may indicate a need for further evaluation or referral to a specialist.
The SAGE test does provide valuable information about cognitive function, however, it should be used in conjunction with other diagnostic tools and clinical judgment to establish an accurate diagnosis of dementia.
Overall, scoring and interpreting the SAGE dementia test requires careful attention to the specific questions and response options. It also requires consideration of demographics and other diagnostic information. Healthcare professionals who are trained in the use and interpretation of cognitive tests should be sort to make certain a diagnosis is accurate.
Health Professionals Planning
Healthcare professionals will assess the SAGE exam. If the test indicates cognitive impairment they may take steps to create a plan for further evaluation and treatment. These steps include:
Referral for additional testing
If the test shows a likelihood of cognitive impairment, the patient will likely be referred for additional testing to help identify the cause and severity of the dementia. Additional testing may be a more comprehensive cognitive test, blood tests or brain imaging.
Referral to a specialist
Subject to the suspected cause of the cognitive impairment, the patient may be referred to a neurologist, neuropsychologist, or geriatrician. The specialist will conduct further assessment.
From the results of the test, professionals will work with the patient and their caregivers to set-up a treatment plan. The plan may include medications to manage underlying conditions or symptoms, cognitive training and rehabilitation, and lifestyle modifications.
Monitoring and follow-up
Dementia is a progressive condition. To monitor cognitive function and modify treatment plans as required, healthcare professionals may schedule regular follow-up appointments.
Limitations of the Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam
The test is not a diagnostic tool on its own. Rather it is used as a screening tool that can assist with identifying people who may gain from further evaluation. The SAGE test is only the beginning of the process. Before a treatment plan can be put into place, further assessment will be required.
The SAGE test is difficult to administer online. It is better to download a test in your language and print it out to administer. If you are specifically looking for an online test, then you consider the Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE). The MMSE test is a similar test that can be administered by a person who is not trained. It also takes only 15 minutes. Here is a link to the online MMSE test.
Sage Test Final Thoughts
The Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam (SAGE) is a simple, convenient, and effective tool for testing for dementia across several domains. It can help individuals and healthcare professionals identify possible cognitive impairment and take appropriate actions to address it.
The SAGE test is not a diagnostic tool on its own and should be used in combination with other assessment tools and clinical evaluation.
If you, or someone you know, is experiencing cognitive decline or has concerns about cognitive function, it’s necessary to seek professional medical advice.
Acting early to identifying dementia can make a significant difference in managing cognitive impairment and improving quality of life.
Let’s talk about the 6 early warning signs of dementia.
Feeling tired, stressed, lethargic?
You would have all the symptoms of dementia, but do you really have dementia?
Tiredness and stress, may simply be due to late nights, low blood sugar, heavy work load, or any number of things. There are a number of signs that are not real dementia.
The worst thing you could do is give your spouse or partner the wrong diagnosis.
Another trap is the belief you have dementia, but not actually have it. You may have a well-meaning spouse who self-diagnoses you with dementia. He/she then gets into the habit of reminding you when you are forgetful and corrects you when you make a mistake. You then start to think and feel that you actually have early dementia.
It doesn’t mean you have dementia if these symptoms happen occasionally.
What is dementia?
A mental decline. When certain parts of your brain are shrinking, specifically a structure called the hippocampus.
6 Early Warning Signs of Dementia
People with early dementia may have problems with familiar everyday organization tasks. They may get confused with the order of things or with making plans.
2. Personality changes
Having unexpected mood swings where a person switches between emotions for no apparent reason may indicate an early sign of dementia. For no real reason, they may seem different from his/her usual self. They may become irritable, depressed, anxious, agitated, or apathetic.
Our gut is like a second brain. There is a connection between our gut and our brain. The microbiome (bacteria) in our gut makes neurotransmitters. They also make more serotonin than our brain makes serotonin. Serotonin is a natural mood stabiliser that regulates wellbeing and happiness.
We have more nerve fibers in our digestive system than we do in our spinal column.
Many cognitive problems can stem from our gut. People who have Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease have much higher instance of constipation than someone who doesn’t have these diseases.
However, it is important to note that if you have constipation, it doesn’t mean you have dementia. It is just an early sign.
This could include issues with your smell, taste, hearing, eyesight and even your appetite. These could be early signs of cognitive decline. As sensory decline becomes more apparent, then the ability to focus, concentrate and overall memory is really what shows up to be a problem.
Struggling to find words for certain things, tending to repeat saying the same things over and over again, or mixing up words are all early indicators of dementia.
For example, a person may be able to talk and make sentences, but is incoherent. What they are saying does not make sense. Words come out randomly and all over the place. This can be extremely frustrating for the person trying to communicate. Language problems are a result of a shrinking hippocampus.
Problems navigating are apparent when you are trying to locate a place in a new area. You get confused and can’t work out where you are.
In our brain we have a GPS which allows us to locate where we are in space. When this area of the brain goes down, we lose this GPS. So, our internal map becomes non-functional, resulting in not being able to find out where you are.
When caring for a person with dementia, it is possible to experience ambiguous loss in dementia.
Ambiguous loss can be described as a type of loss an individual feels when a person with dementia is physically there, but is not as emotionally or mentally present as before.
Ambiguous Loss Pioneered by Pauline Boss, Ph.D. explains that this type of loss happens when a loved one is not psychologically present.
This is where a person is cognitively or emotionally gone.
Dementia is a progressive, neurodegenerative, and fatal disease that destroys brain cells. For people who care and love for those with the illness, the ambiguous loss is a constant reminder of how challenging the illness can be.
This kind of loss is not like other types of losses.
Ambiguous Loss, Grief and Dementia
Ambiguous loss is often unclear and has not resolution, closure, or predictable ending. For instance, with death, loved ones know that the person is gone and they can grieve the loss.
With the ambiguous loss, however, individuals are usually at crossroads because there is no certainty of death and it is also not possible to tell whether they will go back to their “normal” selves.
Ambiguous Loss in Dementia Affects Everyone
Ambiguous loss does not only affect caregivers but people with dementia as well. Individuals with the progressive illness are likely to experience feelings of grief and loss over their diagnosis and the changes they go through as the disease progresses through various stages.
Some carers will not recognize ambiguous grief or know how to react when the abilities of the individual with dementia change. This type of grief can confuse relationships and prevent people from moving on.
Recognizing these feelings and understanding the concept of this type of loss can help ease the effects. It is possible to grieve the losses through guidance and support allowing carers to stay connected to the person with dementia while at the same time building resilience and strength.
Understanding Ambiguous Loss
Carers need to get an in-depth understanding of this unique type of loss. It helps caregivers come up with effective techniques to cope with ambiguous loss in dementia and live successfully with all the uncertainties that surround the progressive illness.
Carers have to learn new ways of relating with the person with the illness while becoming more comfortable with the ambiguity. This is especially because it is not possible to control the effects and progression of dementia. At the same time, caregivers have to move on with their lives while looking after the individual with the illness.
Effects of Ambiguous Loss in Dementia
Ambiguous loss can be a huge stressor for people looking after their loved ones with dementia. It can lead to several negative effects such as:
Caregivers, family members, and friends can take several steps to positively live with ambiguous loss in dementia and some of them include:
Reflecting on the losses that occur both in the person with dementia and the one looking after the affected individual. Acknowledge this grief, express it, and share it with other persons who will be supportive and understanding. Knowing that a person is not alone when dealing with this type of loss can help offer some relief.
Engage in paradoxical thinking
Paradoxical or dual thinking allows carers to accept the presence and absence that ambiguity presents. It is where a person uses “both/and” thinking instead of “either/or” when dealing with two contradictory ideas that are true at the same time.
This helps people reframe perceptions that they cannot change. “My grandmother has dementia and needs help and I need opportunities to enjoy life” is an example of a paradoxical way of thinking.
Strengthen existing relationships with family and friends is important. At the same time, carers should be open to establishing new relationships that can support and enhance life amid grief and loss.
Where possible, carers should continue with family traditions and celebrations (e.g., holidays and birthdays, etc) making changes where necessary.
Caregivers should also learn to create new rituals that will aid with effective daily living.
Carers should not be afraid of going out to ask for emotional support or hands-on assistance. They should also be ready to share their experiences with others in a bid to help those who may be in a similar position.
Eating well, staying physically active, and taking practical steps towards relieving stress are options people have when it comes to taking care of personal needs. Scheduling breaks from care can also help boost morale and health to enable better decision-making and caregiving.
Identify creative outlets
Look for creative and interesting ways to express loss and grief like painting, writing, or other visual forms of art.
Get professional help
Other than reaching out to caregivers, relatives, and friends for support, professional assistance may also come in handy. Options available include well-organized support groups, licensed councillors, and professional organizations like the Alzheimer’s Society.
Celebrate the happy and sad
While grieving what is lost celebrate what has been gained. It is important to always embrace what remains through the various stages of the illness. For instance, while a person may not be able to take long walks or go to the gym, they can still go to the movies.
Ignore what cannot be controlled
It is not possible to control memory loss of a person with dementia but carers can control their reactions.
Caregivers looking after people with dementia may struggle with ambiguous loss in dementia. This does not have to be something that wears the carer out. Understanding what this type of loss is and learning how to successfully manage it is instrumental in taking good care of persons living with dementia.
Persons living with dementia and their caregivers or loved ones will at one point have to deal with dementia and financial problems. This is because as the illness progresses, affected individuals normally struggle to manage their finances.
At the onset of the illness, affected individuals may complete simple tasks such as paying bills without any problem. They may experience difficulties completing tasks like balancing check books. Later on, they can lose their ability to handle money matters.
Seniors with dementia may either need additional support or someone reliable and trustworthy should take over the management of finances. There are several areas where a person with dementia may struggle with finances and these may include:
Difficulties Managing Money
Persons with dementia will most likely have continuing financial responsibilities such as credit cards, mortgages, personal loans, or other forms of credit. Some may even have kids who depend on them financially.
Sadly, living with dementia may result in less income, which is something that can create pressure when it comes to keeping up with financial responsibilities.
It is recommended that people who have dementia seek financial advice as soon as possible to know how best to manage their funds. It is usually important to make decisions in advance so that things are handled the way the affected person would want them to be handled.
Signs of Dementia and Money Problems
Be on the lookout for signs of money problems. For example a person with dementia may have difficulty counting change, calculating a tip, paying for a purchase, balancing a checkbook, or understanding a bank statement. They may be afraid or agitated when talking about money. You may also notice:
Unpaid and unopened bills
Unusual purchases on a credit card
Strange new merchandise
Money amiss from the person’s bank account
Having a Separate Bank Account With Limits
Setting up standing orders for regular bills like rent/ mortgage, electricity, and gas is a good way to make sure a person does not forget to make payments.
When it comes to dementia and bank accounts, it is usually best for persons with dementia to have a separate account that will cater for care expenses. It is also advisable to have limits set on the bank account to manage withdrawals.
A trustworthy person should be put in charge of noting the money that comes in and out of the account so that the individual with dementia does not become a victim of fraud.
Explore Available Benefits
It is also important to explore benefits available for persons with dementia to help ease the financial burden.
Persons who are over the age of 65 may benefit from Attendance Allowance, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, and Council Tax Reduction among others.
Looking at insurance options can also be another great way to help manage money well. Additionally, affected individuals can also look into free and low-cost community services they can take advantage of.
Problems Remembering PINs
One of the points that come up when discussing dementia and managing money is the inability to remember PINs (Personal Identification Numbers). If the person with the progressive illness can still effectively take care of their finances, it would be best for them to use chip and signature cards.
This way, the affected person will not need to remember any numbers as they will only provide a signature when they need to access their money. It is also possible to set up direct debits that can be used for bills so that the person with dementia does not have to worry about making payments.
Giving Money Away Aimlessly
It is also important to talk about dementia and giving money away. Many caregivers agree that some people with dementia become over-generous with their money. Sadly, in most cases, they are victims of scammers.
Unscrupulous individuals may contact the person with dementia requesting donations or offering fake “special deals”.
If necessary, consider changing their number so that scammers do not have access to the sick individuals.
Registering the persons on a Do Not Call registry is also necessary to protect seniors from unwarranted calls.
Frugal with Money
Persons with dementia may start giving away money or spending it on unnecessary things. This is a common issue. For instance, a person may purchase 10 similar outfits or household items they will never use. This can especially be noticeable if a person was previously frugal and their spending habits suddenly change.
For some individuals, the topic of dementia and money obsession becomes apparent. A person with dementia may show strong signs of becoming obsessed with money. They may even accuse caregivers of stealing their cash when this is not the case.
If a person with dementia wants to constantly see their money, and become agitated when they cannot, then carers can purchase fake money and place it in their wallets or somewhere where they can see the cash with ease. This helps to keep them calm and happy. It will reassure them that people are not steeling from them.
In the above scenarios, it is advisable to talk to the affected person about the recent changes in their lives concerning dementia and financial problems.
If this does not sit well with the affected individual, consider asking professionals like an attorney or clergy to speak to them.
Limiting access to check books and credit cards can also help limit a person’s access to money so that they do not give it away carelessly.
It is also advisable to appoint a durable power of attorney who will help properly manage finances.
Take note if there is any form of elder financial abuse. This is where other people take advantage of seniors by misusing their money or property. Such cases warrant reporting to the police as well as local Adult Protective Services (APS) organizations.
Signs of Financial Fraud or Abuse
Signatures on checks and other important documents do not match the signature of the person with the illness.
An individual’s house is under sale or has been sold without them giving permission.
The person’s will has been changed without their knowledge.
The individual is missing valuable items such as jewellery from their home.
The affected person has signed legal papers like power of attorney, will, or joint house deed without knowing what the papers are all about.
After a dementia diagnosis, it is common for affected persons and their loved ones to have to deal with dementia and financial problems. Individuals with the progressive illness need to be given enough support from reliable professionals as well as their relatives or friends to ensure they appropriately manage their finances throughout the illness.
Our extensive research and study allowed us to bring you a list of the most common early signs of dementia.
As soon as you observe regular deteriorations in the condition of a person, you should not really wait for too long.
Instead, act as soon as possible and let the person that shows early signs of dementia see a doctor.
(In some cases, it might be just age-related change.)
Still, if a person is developing dementia, you will be glad that it is really early and appropriate treatment CAN apply to slower the condition.
(Dementiadoes not happen as part of natural aging.)
In this article, we will look at different changes you should pay attention to and what are some of the early signs and symptoms of dementia.
Common Early Signs Of Dementia
To make your lives easier, we compiled what is considered the most common symptoms of dementia especially when in the super early stage.
1. Temporary memory loss
Dementia is the term used to refer to a broad spectrum of symptoms that allude to the weakening of the brain affecting its ability to function properly.
Often the symptoms are quite severe and they affect someone’s daily life. It results from damaged brain cells affecting their normal function to communicate and facilitate different activities of the body.
Temporary memory loss which often affects someone short-term is known to be one of the early signs of dementia. It starts with someone who can often recall events that happened a long time ago suddenly not being able to remember what they had for lunch.
As it affects someone’s cognitive abilities, a person with dementia tends to forget any recently learned information. Even things like dates, events or they cannot help but ask about the same thing repeatedly.
Most find that they have an increasing need to depend on memory aids.
2. Difficulty communicating
A person with the condition may have a hard time trying to find the right words to piece together a sentence when communicating. It’s because they often can’t remember the names of items, people or places.
They may not be able to hold a MEANINGFUL conversation to the end since most times they tend to forget simple words or substitute the use of words incorrectly making sentences hard to comprehend.
They may also pause mid-sentence trying to figure out the right vocabulary to use.
What’s more, they also find that they are unable to complete a sentence at all. The result is a lot of repetition making them sound like they are babbling incoherently.
It may also be hard for them to understand those around them and this may become disheartening. To help them, you can simplify your sentences or speak a bit slower or perhaps repeatedly in case they still don’t understand.
3. Increased confusion
Confusion is also one of the early indications of dementia. As the brain cells begin to deteriorate, confusion may occur affecting the person with dementia’s perception of time and place.
As a result, they may not know their whereabouts, how they arrived at certain places and they even forget the way home or easily get lost.
Dementia also causes someone to LOSE track of dates, the passage of time and seasons. If you leave someone with dementia alone for a few minutes to them it may feel like a really long time.
It’s worth noting that at older ages it’s NORMAL to confuse time and dates, however, all factors considered this information often aligns.
However, someone with the disorder keeps suffering from forgetfulness regardless of their age.
4. Challenges performing everyday tasks
Difficulty in performing familiar tasks is also one of the early signs of dementia. As a result of the changes brought about by the condition, abstract thinking becomes quite hard.
Moreover, the person with dementia often shows an unusual struggle performing mental tasks.
People with this disease may at many times find it hard to handle regular everyday tasks that they had previously carried out with ease.
For example, organizing events, planning chores or make simple financial transactions like paying bills become more and more challenging due to the significant decline in brain cognition.
Something as simple as brewing a cup of coffee may prove difficult to someone with dementia because it may be troublesome to follow the right steps.
Due to memory loss, people with dementia often end up repeating themselves or lose their chain of thought when holding conversations.
The frequent repetition of activities, questions or statements is a significant sign of reduced cognition.
Sometimes, weariness or anxiety sparks this repetitive behavior. A person with dementia may not remember handling a certain task or previously holding any conversations.
They may repeat the same question several times even after they’ve been answered over and over again.
This happens when the brain’s cerebral cortex which oversees a wide range of functions such as memory and language is damaged or ceases to perform the way it should.
Mood swings are also a part of the early signs of dementia and they lead someone to suddenly respond or react irrationally.
It also elicits feelings of fear, anxiety, depression or irritability especially in situations where remembering things becomes quite problematic.
They may also be easily vexed with their colleagues, with friends, at home or in surroundings where they are out of their comfort zones.
This may be quite challenging for caregivers because the person with dementia may behave differently from their usual selves in ways that are hard to explain.
On the other hand, a person with dementia may also be less emotional than they previously were. Plus, their behavior can change SWIFTLY, resulting in rapid mood swings.
7. Poor judgment
Poor judgment is another hallmark of dementia that at times precedes memory loss. A person with dementia is continually unable to make apt decisions.
They may be unable to make the right call in terms of evaluating the different aspects that should be well-thought-out when making an important decision.
If your kin exhibits a pattern of unmistakably wrong decisions or actions such as driving yet they are unable to determine how fast they should go on a highway, chances are they’re suffering from dementia or a similar disorder.
It may be helpful as you cope to consider dementia as a possible reason for their behaviors that seem beyond their control.
Due to the loss of multiple abilities as sparked by dementia the person afflicted soon becomes withdrawn from friends and family.
They also start to display a general lack of interest in activities that they previously found exciting.
A person with dementia may begin to exclude themselves from social activities, hobbies, or even sports that they once loved.
When they are aware of their diminished capacity to handle daily tasks, they may develop poor self-esteem and end up feeling embarrassed or even ashamed.
It leads most to retreat into isolation.
Withdrawal as a symptom of dementia often hits those who are working the hardest. It affects their productivity leading to a decline in their overall performance.
It throws them into a state of sadness and depression.
9. Problems with coordination
If recognition and coordination complications begin to take effect and affect someone’s everyday life, it could be an early sign of dementia.
A person with the disorder may be clumsy, unhandy, uncoordinated and heavy-handed.
They are not performing tasks with the same ease as they used to. And this means simple things like walking, not to mention running and cycling.
They may also find it difficult to recognize familiar objects like a pot of coffee, cutlery, a cooker, kettle, toothbrush or toothpaste.
Symptoms of a loss of coordination and motor abilities include shaking, struggling to use a hairbrush or shaver and difficulty tying or untying shoelaces.
If, all of a sudden, a person starts to act awkwardly and it goes on for longer than usual, do not leave it behind thinking it will get better.
10. Inability to adapt to change
Difficulty adapting to change is one of the typical early signs of dementia. The inability to recall people’s names or follow what others are talking about can cause nervousness and fear of new changes.
It makes someone with dementia almost obsessive about sticking to their usual routine. On the other hand, they are shying away from trying out new experiences.
Dementia can also alter the way how a person responds to different environments. They may be frustrated and irritated since they cannot follow what’s happening in unfamiliar places.
Disruptive noise, conversations, large crowds, and movements may be overwhelming for them.
Moreover, they find it even more difficult to comprehend information in such surroundings.
11. Neglecting hygiene
Although dementia effects vary from one person to another, it gradually takes a toll on the afflicted individual.
It prevents them from taking care of their daily responsibilities as their cognitive abilities decline. This eventually leads to poor personal grooming and hygiene. Even those who were previously obsessed with their looks and cleanliness are not spared.
As the illness progresses, someone with dementia often starts forgetting to brush their teeth, change their clothes, shower regularly or even use the toilet.
They may not remember the importance of doing all those things.
Depression from the condition could also cause someone to neglect their personal hygiene. At this point, professional assistance is necessary to help them comfortably cope with the activities of daily life.
12. Misplacing items
Many tend to associate misplacing things with the natural aging process. However, this could be one of the early signs of dementia.
Regularly finding supposedly missing items in unusual spots such as locating the remote control in a shoe rack or missing car keys inside the refrigerator are strong indications of the manifestation of dementia.
A person with the condition may easily forget where they kept items such as books or a wristwatch.
They might end up accusing those around them of stealing or hiding their possessions.
They will also emphatically deny it due to their weak memory function and cognitive reasoning. If these underlying concerns are checked out and treated on time, the effects CAN be cured.
13. Lack of abstract thinking
While we already mentioned trouble with completing everyday tasks and activities earlier, lack of abstract thinking is another early sign of dementia.
There are loads of simple questions you can ask them or even use while observing a person if you notice any changes.
You might not see it the first time, but if a difference in behavior and action happens regularly, a close watch is necessary.
They might have trouble with the simplest mathematical tasks or providing a summary of the article they just read.
Even when reading the instruction for a new gadget, once they are complete, they are still not really sure how to use it.
They might repeat the reading but the end result stays the same – they are unaware of how the gadget operates. Lack of abstract thinking is especially noticeable with how well they manage their finances.
14. Inappropriate behavior
One of the early signs of dementia is inappropriate behavior. This becomes especially evident if a person was behaving in a certain way for the majority of their time, but then they begin to misbehave for no real reason.
If it happens once or twice, even three times, it might not be too big of a deal.
However, if it becomes their repetitive practice, it is highly advisable to see the doctor as soon as possible. Some of the misbehaving acts could be aggression, both physical and mental, arguing and bickering.
One of them is also inappropriate sexual behavior, but that is something we will talk about more in-depth in a future article.
15. Mixing up time and place
Since we already chatted about this earlier, it is worth adding it in its own paragraph. While everyone sometimes forgets about what day it is, even where they are going, it is not healthy if this starts happening regularly.
Do observe the person as much as possible. Take them to the doctor as soon as possible if this “new forgetfulness” does not go away. Acting early enough and getting treatment before the condition progresses can alleviate it tremendously.
Also, if you happen to be the person who is sensing something “weird” happening to you, again, see the doctor or practitioner as soon as possible.
Today, we will look at some of the most common Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease symptoms and signs of which you should be aware.
Let’s face it, went it comes to CJD, it is important to treat the condition as early as possible.
If it is your first time hearing of the disease, read along.
First and foremost, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease or short CJD is a destructive brain disorder that leads to dementia and even death.
However, CJD is not that common and affects approximately one person in every one million per year. A person with the disease can die within a year.
First, in the early stages of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a person begins lacking memory, their vision gets blurry and even starts behaving out of place.
But these are just some of the symptoms of CJD. Moreover, when the condition progresses, a person can fall into a coma, get blind, depressed and experiences difficulty swallowing.
In short, CJD appears when prion protein gets damaged and deformed. When healthy, this protein does not cause any inconvenience to the body.
But everything changes drastically when prion does not perform as it should.
The main Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease symptoms
1. Behavioral changes
Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD) is a deadly neurological disease that progressively destroys brain cells by creating small holes in the brain.
It is known to occur when prion protein that communicates message among different brain cells are damaged.
Once prion proteins are affected, they fold into an abnormal shape and in turn, they don’t function how they normally would.
When it affects the nervous system, someone experiences a series of signs and symptoms that require instant attention and care.
Some of Creutzfeldt-Jakob’s disease symptoms are psychological-based. The person affected by the illness displays a rollercoaster of behavior and emotions due to mental impairment and it gets worse with time.
2. Memory Impairment
When the damaging brain cells appear, the cognitive actions of individuals suffering from Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease deteriorate rapidly.
The affected person develops dementia where their memory becomes problematic and this affects their thinking skills as well.
Since the brain is incapacitated and unable to perform fully, the affected person is susceptible to confusion, disorientation and poor planning because they cannot think critically.
The person is unable to recall any recent events or exhibit general knowledge of simple things related to their surroundings.
It throws them into a state of disintegration and restlessness. With time, it may turn into distress or even depression.
As the illness progresses, the person with the illness develops neuromuscular defects leading to coordination dysfunction, voluntary muscle loss, and lacks of rhythm.
It happens because of the weakening of muscles and muscle mass loss, especially around the arms and legs. As a result, balance and coordination prove challenging affecting the ability to control different body parts.
Overall, it affects how someone speaks and they suddenly develop challenges walking comfortably. The assistance of a caregiver is necessary to lend them a hand to help them move around.
At the later stages, the person with the disease may suffer from the total loss of their physical and intellectual capabilities and they eventually slip into an unconscious state.
4. Slurred speech
Rogue prion protein damages the brain cells, making their communication ineffective. The speech of the affected person becomes incomprehensible and impaired.
They find that they are unable to communicate clearly to those around them or their caregivers. Their ability to express themselves becomes stunted or totally halted.
The reason is that a muscle tone known as hypotonia diminishes and also the tongue muscle weakness. It can even lead to facial paralysis.
When in such a state, the person with the disease may retreat into a state of isolation and despair as a result of the inevitable changes that their body is undergoing.
5. Impaired vision
One of the other Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease symptoms is vision impairment or total blindness. The visual signs are marked by complex visual disturbances, cortical blindness, supranuclear palsies, hallucinations, and diplopia.
When the infectious prion proteins are deposited on the cornea’s lymphoid tissue, which controls the immune response in the eye’s frontal section, the proteins damage the cortical region.
The damage results in poor vision or even hearing or seeing things that don’t really exist.
If the person with the disease develops blurry vision, it is a result of cortical damage and it may trigger discomfort making it crucial to visit an eye specialist for lasting solutions.
6. Increasing Confusion
Due to memory loss and disturbed cognitive processes, a person suffering from CJD is likely to experience rapid confusion and feel overwhelmed by their current state.
They often acknowledge to themselves that they are unable to live their lives fully as before.
As another common Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease symptom, confusion leaves the affected person frustrated due to visual disturbances that make them unable to recognize simple things like their surroundings or how to get back home.
People with the disease often lose track of time and seasons so they require full-time care and guidance to handle their daily tasks.
7. Depression and Rapid Mood Swings
As a result of the Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease taking a toll on someone battling with the illness, their mood tends to oscillate rapidly.
One moment they are happy and excited and the next minute they are agitated and irritated by their surroundings or situations that they previously enjoyed. The unexpected change sparks frustrations making them lapse into depression and despair.
They also become easily irritable and develop poor personal grooming and a loss of appetite leading to weight loss.
When out of their comfort zones, people with CJD tend to easily become upset. They may also exhibit inappropriate emotional responses like laughing when they receive or relay bad news or crying for no reason.
This may also leave their caregivers frustrated because the person becomes difficult to handle sometimes.
People suffering from CJD tend to isolate themselves and withdraw from family and friends. To them, the usual activities or hobbies that they previously enjoyed no longer excite them.
It often stems from their inability to respond to social cues or the decline of their motor skills which makes them unable to perform or participate in any task.
It makes them feel embarrassed and this results in low self-esteem which makes them prefer to retreat to seclusion.
Also, being unproductive causes psychological distress to the persons with Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease so they choose to be by themselves.
The changes experienced during the course of the illness bring about an overall personality and behavioral change and it is wise to approach the person with the disease with utmost care.
9. Swallowing Difficulties
The diminished performance of different body parts arises when the damaged brain cells stop functioning as they should also affect the muscles around the mouth.
For instance, if the swallow reflex or the coordination of the throat muscles are affected, the affected person finds it hard to chew or move food in the mouth while at the pharyngeal stage.
At this stage, the tongue pushes the food back to the mouth triggering the swallow reflex as the windpipe closes briefly.
It poses an even greater risk of choking which could prove fatal. For sufficient nourishment, the caregivers should consider perennial feeding and consult with a physician.
10. Abnormal gait/walking
Abnormal walking or gait is one of the other Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease symptoms that are common. It comes about due to the communication breakdown between the muscles and the brain.
As the nervous system is damaged, the body is unable to control intricate synchronized movements affecting normal walking.
Since normal walking requires the collective help of systems that oversee coordination, strength, and sensation, someone with CJD is often unable to sustain normal movements.
Also, the body of the person with the disease is unable to maintain a rigid posture; they experience unsteadiness and difficulty in balancing physical configurations as a normal person would.
11. Issues With Bladder and Bowel Control
When the communication between the brain cells that facilitate bladder and bowel function weakens, it leads to issues with bladder or bowel control.
As a result, someone with CJD may experience instances of uncontrolled urine or stool passage. When the brain cells are unable to communicate on when to contract the sphincter or rectal muscles, urinary or fecal incontinence is inevitable.
It often starts as leakage when passing gas and as the illness progresses the situation worsens. In such situations, the caregivers turn to products like diapers or tiny plugs to handle the situation.
However, if cases worsen or progress medical intervention is necessary.
12. Difficulty Sleeping
While you might not have any of the signs mentioned here, have you taken a look at your sleeping behavior?
Below we will discuss seven of the most common signs that occur during the last stage of dementia.
Most Common End-Stage Dementia Signs
1. Trouble Communicating
You will notice that many people with dementia at the onset have a little bit of trouble communicating with others. This becomes WORSE as the years go by.
During the severe/last stage of dementia, the ill person will have significant communication issues. Some only use expressions or words sparingly to express themselves.
Most people do not verbally communicate at the very end. During the later stages of dementia, affected individuals may not be able to understand when other people talk to them.
In the event of no speech, persons with dementia may use facial expressions, body language, or show agitation to communicate their feelings and needs.
2. Health Problems
A wide array of health problems belong to the category of end-stage dementia signs.
This is where a person with dementia may become frail and prone to illnesses like infections such as pneumonia, pain or discomfort.
UTI’s (Urinary Tract Infections) are particularly common in the end stages. These can speed up the progression of the disease or cause more confusion in the people who have dementia.
Some persons may experience more side effects with the medications they are taking. Health problems may also include problems with vision, hearing, and mobility.
If treatable, any health conditions must be QUICKLY diagnosed and taken care of.
In addition to medication, caregivers should also try non-drug approaches like a massage and other alternative therapies to help offer relief to the persons with the illness.
3. Severe Memory Loss
When a person with dementia gets to the final stages of the illness, high chances are that they will have SIGNIFICANT memory problems.
They may lose the ability to remember even the most recent memories.
For instance, a person may not recall what they have just eaten or who they were speaking to an hour ago. A high percentage of persons with the illness believe that they are living in earlier times, for example when they were still teens.
This implies that they may start to behave or using words that may not make sense to people around them.
The affected person may also lose their ability to recognize themselves or other individuals close to them, like children, friends, colleagues, and neighbors, etc.
4. Incontinence and Toilet Issues
Another example of end-stage dementia signs is toilet problems and incontinence. As the illness progresses, there is a possibility that the person will EXPERIENCE some accidents while trying to use the washroom.
It can be anything from the occasional urine or fecal leaks or a total loss of control when the person needs to use the toilet.
Many factors can cause this, such as:
Forgetting where the facilities are or forgetting to visit the toilet in time
Most people will lose their ability to stand, walk or get up from a bed or chair gradually.
At this point, the affected individuals may start to experience more falls.
While not all people with dementia will have mobility problems, the issues may be brought about by dementia, balance problems, medical conditions like stroke, drugs, and the environment, amongst others.
People with mobility problems are likely to DEVELOP other issues, like bedsores because they can sit or sleep in one position for a long time without moving.
When mobility decreases, the person with dementia is also at risk of blood clots and other infections.
6. Problems with Eating and Drinking
Changes in eating and drinking patterns are also considered to be part of end-stage dementia signs.
Losing weight may have an effect on a person’s IMMUNE system, making it harder for the body to fight off other diseases.
Many people will have a problem with eating and drinking because they develop mouth sores or have problems swallowing.
Swallowing issues arise when a person’s reflexes and muscles cease to function correctly.
7. Loss of Independence
When talking about end-stage dementia signs, it is only right to mention that a person with the illness may lose their independence. This means that they cannot do simple daily tasks on their own.
They have to rely on caregivers to assist with tasks like taking a bath, dressing, walking, eating, brushing teeth and so forth. This usually means that a person cannot live on their own.
A person must get all the care they need so that they do not suffer too much before they exit the earth. If it is NOT POSSIBLE to offer the support that a person needs at home, it is best if they move to a facility that will take care of their needs.
In the end, even though dementia is fatal, most will die of medical complications that are related to dementia.
For example, a person’s death may be a result of aspiration pneumonia or a blood clot as a result of being bedbound and immobile.
We received many messages asking us why do patients with dementia walk so much. Thus we found it necessary to create this in-depth overview.
When looking after a person with dementia, you may notice that persons with the illness may start walking too much.
While walking may not necessarily be a bad thing for a person with the progressive disease, it may at times seem to get out of hand.
Keep in mind that persons with dementia may not have control of their desire to walk about. There are a VARIETY of reasons affected persons may walk too much and some of them we include below.
Why someone walks about?
Dementia affects how the brain works and this may cause a person to experience short-termmemory loss.
This means that a person can start walking with a certain goal in mind, but then forget where they were going or even why.
As a result, they can continue walking long distances WITHOUT a destination in mind.
Walking too much does not always happen outside a person’s home. It can also happen in the compound or in the house.
For instance, the affected individual may set off to look for something they think is lost or stolen. They may want to walk for a long period as they search for that particular item.
Confusion about Time
Being confused about time is another reason people with dementia may resort to walking so much.
Some people with dementia may wake up in the middle of the night, get dressed and prepare to start the day thinking that it is daybreak.
Some individuals WILL START walking too much at night because they have difficulties sleeping.
Feeling Lost or Looking for a Person
It is possible that a person with the progressive illness will start walking too much when they are feeling lost or disoriented.
They may; therefore, want to start walking in a bid to identify something familiar. Furthermore, an individual might even start looking for a LONG-LOST friend or relative.
They may not know where to locate the person they are looking for; thus, end up walking about in hope of finding their loved one.
Restlessness, Anxiety, and Agitation
Various dementia symptoms can cause a person with the progressive illness to start walking around. The most common ones include anxiety, restlessness, and agitation.
These can be caused by the changes that happen in the brain.
Some of the symptoms can also be SIDE EFFECTS of medication that a person is taking.
A percentage of people with dementia also suffer from restless leg syndrome. This is a medical condition that gives individuals an irresistible and overwhelming urge to move their legs to stop unpleasant sensations.
The condition makes people want to get up and start walking which mostly happens at night. Feeling anxious can also make a person stand up and walk away because they WORRY about something that is probably out of their control.
Boredom can also make people with dementia start walking. It usually happens when an individual can no longer do fun things they used to do.
This ends up robbing a person of their sense of purpose and SELF-WORTH to some extent. Walking too much may be a way of finding something fulfilling to do.
A person may also start walking about because they have too much unused energy. This is common for persons who engage in limited physical and mental activities.
In some cases, persons with dementia walk so much because they are trying to ease their pain or discomfort.
Many individuals resort to walking as a way of trying to escape from their pain. A person may also be responding to an uncomfortable environment that may be either too COLD or too HOT.
Some individuals with dementia may additionally find it challenging to stay in a place that has too much noise; hence, may start walking away in search of a quiet place.
Continuing an Interest or Habit
Most people with dementia will try as much as possible to relieve old routines after getting a diagnosis.
An example of this is walking.
The affected person may want to be out and about at the same time of the day. For instance, if the individual used to WALK their dog in the evening, they may want to get out of the house at that time.
A person may also want to remain independent especially when they reach a stage where they need assistance with various daily living activities.
Stepping away from their caregivers can give a person a sense of independence.
There are several reasons people with dementia will walk so much.
It is important for caregivers to identify what triggers the behavior and come up with EFFECTIVE WAYS to deal with it in a way that will not harm/hurt the person with the illness.
At times, it may be best to let the individual take a walk as long as they are in a safe environment.
This might mean that the individual with the illness may have to be accompanied by a friend or relative.