Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are frightening diseases that slowly rob a person of their identity and personality. Denial, dodging the subject or compensating for symptoms is quite common because people are so afraid of these brain-stealing diseases.
The signs of dementia can be subtle and easy to miss at first. Your parent becomes disoriented or has a bit of trouble recalling certain words, or maybe they forget to pay the bills. You should not ignore If your aging parent or loved one is beginning to show persistent memory loss. There is also a condition called anosognosia which is a lack of awareness of impairment. This occurs when there is damage to the part of the brain that affects perception of one’s own illness.
Treatment can help slow down the disease progression, and in some instances completely treat forms of dementia. So, it would be a great help to understand the ways that the elderly can hide dementia symptoms:
1. Refusing to participate in an activity they once loved
Refusing to perform a task, play a game that was once simple and loved, or try something new might indicate the existence of a problem. Your parent or loved one may be having trouble remembering how to do things that were once second-nature. As a result, learning new information will be even more difficult.
2. Spouses covering-up problems
Whether it’s having trouble driving or interacting with family and friends; spouses often have the instinct to cover for their loved ones. They’ll complete tasks, finish sentences or make excuses for their spouse. Pay attention for signs such as these.
3. Being in denial of their own cognitive impairment
Insisting they’re fine when the problem seems obvious to you often signifies denial. Such excuses as, “This is normal for my age,” or “I’m fine, just tired” are probably signs of denial. They are not just trying to convince you that they are fine they are trying to convince themselves. In reality, they may not be fine. They actually might need some form of treatment and/or an alternative living arrangement.
4. Fear of being put into a home
We all want to keep our freedom. Seniors will often go to great lengths to conceal that they are going downhill so that they can retain their independence. Some studies show that highly intelligent people with more education can conceal and cover up the signs of dementia for a longer period of time. These people simply start at such a high level of knowledge and intelligence that a slight slip is not as noticeable. Of course, this isn’t universally true. Many who lack higher education are quite clever at covering up memory slips with ease. Because of this adult children need to be on the lookout for signs of deterioration in their parents.
More than denial, anosognosia is a distinct lack of awareness of impairment. Most people do not even know that they are ill. It possibly affects over 80% of those with Alzheimer’s.
How Is You Elderly Loved One Functioning?
What matters most is how your aging loved one functions. If they are having trouble with everyday living and responsibilities, you need to address these issues. A visit to a neurologist can help sort out the behavior that is troubling the family and rule out various causes. Dehydration, infection, medication and stroke are all possible causes of changes in brain function and behavior.
If there is no official diagnosis other than “early dementia” or ”mild cognitive impairment,” it’s not a signal to the family that everything is okay and no one needs to plan ahead. Rather, it’s time to talk about and examine Mom or Dad’s future. Prepare yourselves today, rather than wait for a crisis.