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Caregiver Insights: Senior In Home Care

Normal Aging? No-It's Dementia!

By Patrick Philbrick-Director on Sep 20, 2015 5:18:45 PM

Is It Dementia or Normal Aging?--Dementia Home Care Assessment

Martha's mom has always been a bit on the difficult side: very opinionated, stubborn, quick to point out flaws. But in the last couple of years it's been getting worse. Her mom has been getting obsessive about certain topics, "beating a dead horse" over and over. She recently got into a heated argument with her caregiver over the definition of "organic". The caregiver was agreeing with her, but Marhta's mom began screaming and escalating the argument, seeming to feel misunderstand and violated. When the family stepped in to defend, mom began attacking them, screaming at the top of her lungs. Only after everyone left the room and returned a few minutes later, did they find mom sobbing to herself. She said "I don't understand why I do that," "Why am I so negative?" , "I don't want to feel this way, what is wrong with me?"

Alzheimer's Population Distribution Graph Graph of Alzheimer's percentages in the general population

According to the Alzheimer's Association, and top Gerontologists at UCLA Medical Center, memory loss and a cantankerous personality are not a normal part of the aging process. This is a myth. We joke about "old-timers" disease, and dismiss the missteps of the elderly as "they're just getting old." But these symptoms are often indicative of serious disease or injury to the brain. Early recognition can lead to treatment in some of the underlying causes of these dementia symptoms
While symptoms of dementia can vary greatly, at least two of the following core mental functions must be significantly impaired to be considered dementia. Trained dementia home care professionals can deal with these symptoms much more effectively, and with less friction and conflict, than family members can. Family members are used to dealing with their loved ones in predictable ways, and when dementia begins to change the personality, people too close to the patient take it personally and get frustrated, agitated and angry when mom or grandma begins to start being annoying. A professional recognizes that the patient is not "giving them a hard time," the patient is "having a hard time."

Alzheimer's increase chart California is expected to see a 25% increase in Alzheimer's over next 10 years

 

The Alzheimer's association, in discussing Senior Home Care of dementia, states that at least two of the following mental processes must be significantly impaired before a diagnosis of dementia can be made:

1) Memory
2) Communication and language
3) Ability to focus and pay attention
4) Reasoning and judgment
5 )Visual perception

And there are may ways that symptoms of problems in these 5 areas can manifest themselves;

  • Difficulty with walking and balance
  • Recent falls or tendency to slip
  • Inability to detect sarcasm or lies
  • Staring
  • Changes in Eating Habits and Appetite
  • Mean, Angry Outbursts
  • Poor Decision Making
  • Cognitive impairment with Problem Solving
  • Obsessive/Compulsive behavior
  • Slow or different handwriting
  • Hallucinations or Delusions
  • Loss of Vocabulary

If you suspect your mom, dad or other loved one may be becoming demented, download our free quiz to determine if further professional examination may be needed (courtesy of the Alzheimer's Associaton):


Free Download-10 Early Signs of Dementia

Topics: Depression and Mental Health, Alzheimer's and Dementia, Caregiver Information and Support