Times Chronicle & Public Spirit

Be aware of the early signs of dementia

- By Samantha Gordon Promoting Senior Wellness is provided by The Hickman, a Quakeraffi­liated licensed personal care home in West Chester, where Samantha Gordon is communicat­ions and outreach manager. She can be reached at sgordon@thehickman.org or www.the

No one knows your parents or grandparen­ts better than you. Their favorite food, shows and hobbies are all part of who they are and who you have grown up to watch.

However, when things such as interests or behavior start to change, it isn’t uncommon to question why that is.

Dementia can involve the loss of one’s memory or thinking abilities, such as problem-solving, that can interfere with daily living.

There can be many different forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, and it’s essential to consult your loved one’s doctor to ensure they are receiving the right care necessary. Discover some of the common early symptoms of dementia to keep an eye on.

Issues with memory

Reoccurrin­g memory loss can be an early sign of dementia. While many of us forget things from time to time, regularly forgetting doctor appointmen­ts, plans with friends and family or keeping track of items such as a purse or glasses can become worrisome.

Losing track of time can also can be an early symptom of dementia if it happens often. Forgetting the day, month and year or important holidays/dates can become a red flag.

Other factors can include difficulty rememberin­g or finding certain words consistent­ly. Losing track of thought mid-sentence or struggling to put simple words together can become worrisome and noticeable over time.

Losing interest in activities

We might know mom as the person who will knit everyone a scarf for their birthday, holiday or knitting club, but lately, she hasn’t been keeping up with her knitting as much and has shown little to no interest in it.

It’s essential to pay attention to see what your loved ones enjoy doing, and if there is a change in those interests or behaviors.

Mood changes are common among those with early onset dementia. Becoming agitated, irritable, depressive or expressing signs of anxiety are warning signs to look out for. Physical signs

One common physical sign to keep an eye on with our loved ones is wandering. People with dementia often get lost in familiar territory and begin to walk around for many reasons such as fear, boredom or anxiety. This can become a safety hazard if they wander out of the house.

Other things such as sleeping and eating problems are often common among those with dementia. Trouble falling asleep or rememberin­g to eat or drink can become a safety risk, leading to becoming dehydrated or exhausted.

Always continue to observe your loved one if you start to notice any signs. It’s important to take note and talk to a medical profession­al to ensure the best care and treatment options for your parent or grandparen­t.

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