Thanksgiving With Your Senior Loved One: 7 Dementia Signs to Look For


Posted by Kia Crawford on November 26th, 2014 in Education, Holidays, Mind | No Comments

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, which means the holidays are officially upon us. Families all around the country are all gathering together to give thanks and to feast until they can barely move. Yes, this is a great time in America! But the holiday season is also the time that you may notice that an aging loved one isn’t who they once were. They may not be as independent anymore or perhaps not as lucid. You may notice some physical changes. Maybe they are falling or needing assistance to move around. You may also notice that they are speaking in loops, repeating themselves frequently during conversation or  you are having to repeat yourself frequently while conversing with them. These could all be a signs of cognitive decline.

Spotting early signs of dementia happens most often during holiday gatherings because this is the time of year that we are all gathered together for extended periods of time. Time spent during the holiday season gives family members the opportunity to assess changes in Aunt Ruby or Grandpa Tom that may not be noticed during the rest of the year.

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Here are 7 signs to help you determine if your loved one may be experiencing some form of dementia related memory loss.

  1. They seem unkempt or disheveled. Maybe Aunt Ruby was a woman all about fashion. Her shoes matched her outfit to a T and every strand of hair was always in place with her makeup applied perfectly. Now, her clothes seem a bit wrinkled or she’s wearing clothes and make up in a way that is uncharacteristic for her.
  2. They seem to be losing weight. Maybe Aunt Ruby’s clothes are entirely too large for her. This could be a sign of a nutritional or dietary issue. Perhaps, she isn’t eating the right things or not eating much at all.
  3. They seem detached or spaced-out. Perhaps Grandpa Tom always tells his story about the time he …….., but now he isn’t telling the story and he seems withdrawn or not particularly “present” with the family mentally. This could be a sign of dementia or memory loss.
  4. They are repeating themselves frequently. Maybe Grandpa Tom is telling his story, but he has told it multiple times to the same people at the same gathering. This could be a sign of dementia or Alzheimer’s.
  5. They are tripping frequently or needing assistance. Tripping could be a sign of normal age-related vision loss or a sign that a walking aid is necessary now.  But this could also be a sign of dementia related sight loss and changes in visual perception. Many people with certain forms dementia can have visuoperceptual difficulties as a result of changes in the brain.
  6. There are changes in the home. Perhaps the family gathering is at the aging loved ones home and you notice that plants are not watered. The house is not as kept as it usually is. There is expired food in the refrigerator. These all could be signs that your loved one needs attention.
  7. The prescriptions filled weeks ago are still full or the pills inside are not at the level they should be. This could be a signed that your loved one is forgetting to take their medication or they are not managing doses correctly.

If you spot any of the signs above, it’s time to seek help because your loved one could be unsafe in their current environment At Dogwood Forest, we can help you through the process of getting your loved one in the appropriate environment, and help you determine what the problems are so that we may assist you in finding the healthcare professional your loved one needs. Call us today! We are here to be a resource.