From the second the door swings open and your senior parent wraps you in a warm hug, through the merry holiday dinner and each timeless family tradition, possibilities abound for not just quality time together, but also to evaluate how your senior loved one is really doing and if any warning flags are observed.
In particular, certain indicators could reveal cognitive issues, including Alzheimer’s disease. Because Alzheimer’s happens to be more and more common in senior loved ones, and because early detection and treatment are key, the dementia care team at Generations at Home suggests monitoring for any of the following common signs of early Alzheimer’s disease during your holiday visit this year:
- Social differences. As outlined by John Ramsay, CEO of Shift 8,“Dementia can cause people to become closed-off, avoiding any sense of social interaction.” Take note of any indications both in the senior’s behavior and conversations that point to his/her preference for reclusiveness and isolation, particularly if the person has always appreciated socializing.
- Mood swings. Depression, anxiety, and apathy are all early components of dementia. The illness has an effect on a person’s ability to process and manage emotions, often times the result of the inability to remember what sparked an adverse feeling, leading to additional irritation.
- Loss of memory. Issues with memory are at the heart of Alzheimer’s disease, notably, short-term memory. Notice whether or not the senior seems to have a problem with recent events, but is able to fully engage in conversations in regards to the past.
- Problems with altered routines. Identifying a sense of disorientation, anxiety or agitation is not uncommon during the holiday season, with its possibility of disruptions to the normal routine. People with Alzheimer’s tend to depend greatly on familiarity and may also appear out of sorts when deviating from the usual.
- Physical changes. Take note of any evidence of a decline in hygiene or in the cleanliness and organization of the home, particularly if the senior has previously been thorough in maintaining a sense of order.
Any of these concerns ought to be brought to the attention of the senior’s primary care doctor at the earliest opportunity.
And, it is beneficial to have a trusted senior care partner on hand who is familiar with the intricacies of dementia along with other difficulties of aging, and will provide you with the professional assistance which enables aging parents to stay safe and well. Contact the St. Petersburg FL home care experts at Generations at Home at 727-940-3414 to learn more about our highly skilled, professional dementia care team and for a free in-home assessment to find out how we can help.