Surprising Signs of Dementia

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Surprising Signs of Dementia


It’s such a strange, confusing, devastating disease.  It’s difficult to diagnosis and there is no real treatment.
Most people equate Dementia with memory loss, such as forgetting someone’s name or to turn off the stove. The reality is significantly more. With Dementia, the brain function is affected to a point it interferes with every facet of a person’s life.
Yes, memory loss is the most recognized sign of Dementia, but there are other surprising signs.

Did you know, Dementia is an umbrella term that includes a multitude of diseases?
While, we could go into the many types of Dementia, the names are really irrelevant. It doesn’t impact our day-to-day lives to know what “type” of Dementia my mother has. The truth is, there is no cure and very few treatments. The responsibility to ensure a better quality of life with this disease lies almost entirely with the caregiver(s).
The Surprising Signs of Dementia
To the outside world, our family member looks and even acts very normal. As a caregiver, you have to be creative and work around the symptoms and changes. Symptoms like memory loss are expected, but there are so many others that you might not realize can be attributed to Dementia.

Memory Loss
You expect memory loss with Dementia. However, it isn’t as simple as forgetting certain details or to turn off a light.

Short term memory is usually the first to go. This shows itself as forgetting little things like that happened earlier in the day, keeping track of one’s belongings, any kind of planning, or remembering the steps required to accomplish a task.

As the disease progresses, memory starts to fail to the point they may forget a spouse, children, even their own name, even cease to recognize their own home or surroundings.

What once was secure becomes terrifying. Family and friends become strangers. The lines between reality and dreams are blurred.

What is an even more astounding sign of Dementia is the inconsistency. Some days the memory is remarkably clear, where other days it's a struggle to remember their own children’s names.

People with Dementia at times don’t recognize their need to use the bathroom. They “forget” what the urge to use the bathroom means and what they should do about it.

Emotional Issues
A person with Dementia knows they are losing a part of themselves. They are aware of the changes, although they may not be able to communicate those changes to you.

This can impact their mood and even their personality. While these emotional issues are difficult to handle as a caregiver, it’s important to remember it’s not about you.

Sometimes anger, rudeness, or depressed behavior are the only ways they know to cope with the multitude of confusing changes happening in their mind.

Hallucinations, Paranoia, and Delusion
Another surprising sign of Dementia is a person’s inability to distinguish what is real and what is imagination. They may see and hear people that aren’t there. Inanimate objects become alive for them. They experience a loss of security by their suddenly unfamiliar surroundings, causing paranoia and a need to escape.

In many instances of Dementia, people begin reliving past experiences like from WWII for example. Like being under attack by invisible forces to a point where they can become violent.

Also, some seniors battling dementia get wrapped up in a book or TV show and believes they are living out those stories. They worry frequently about being alone or abandoned. This worry causes  a certain amount of paranoia when alone. Even though they live in the home over 50 years, they have moments where they find their surroundings  unfamiliar and even frightening.

Verbal Outbursts and Inappropriate Behavior
A surprising sign of dementia is a lack of appropriate behavior, particularly in public. People with Dementia will often say or do whatever comes to mind. They may steal or lie. Self-control is no longer part of their character.
  • Their conversation might become inappropriate and rude.
  • Outbursts or even tantrums become common.
  • Thoughts are spoken without concern for the listener.
  • Some might frequently swear.
  • Some argue incessantly.
  • Lies are commonplace.
  • Some favorite conversation topics are morbid, insensitive, or inappropriate.
  • Some lose  their verbal filter, blurting out the first thing that comes to mind regardless of the situation.
While this can be embarrassing, particularly when in public, this is just another surprising sign of Dementia.

Insomnia symptoms are another surprising sign of Dementia.
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Waking frequently
  • Night terrors
  • Refusing to even attempt to sleep
  • Sleeping in the day instead of at night
These are all troublesome symptoms for both the one with Dementia and their caregiver. It causes the caregiver to constantly be on the clock. It also causes other issues that make caregiving even more difficult, such as:
  • Increased wandering
  • Irritability
  • Greater confusion
  • Increased risk of falls
  • Combative behaviors

Uncooperative and Resistant
Yet another surprising sign of Dementia is greater resistance and a lack of cooperation.
Even the tasks or requests that directly benefit them are met with argument or flat-out noncompliance.
Things like:
  • Showering,
  • Diet,
  • Medication,
  • Appropriate clothes,
  • Safety directions,

become a battle for the caregiver. Instead of feeling gratitude toward them for keeping them safe, healthy, and provided for, they lash out in anger and bitterness.

These things seem so simple, but to someone with Dementia, they seem scary or even irrational.

The brutal fact of this disease is that, while advancements are being made, there is no cure or any real treatment for the disease. The best we, as caregivers, can do is learn to live around and work with these surprising signs of Dementia.

Give your loved one grace during these changes. They are confused and frightened. They are aware that parts of their mind are fading away. When we learn to adapt and are able to show compassion even amidst these surprising signs of Dementia is when we find peace as a caregiver.

Do you have an aging loved one who might benefit from in home care? Salus Home Care can help.

We are locally based in Biloxi, Mississippi, with clients all along the Gulf Coast. Our mission is to help provide seniors with a higher quality of life, while also offering respite and peace of mind for those family caregivers who might need some support.

Our companions can assist with activities of daily living, help with housekeeping, provide driving services, and do so much more. We offer personalized care plans designed to help you and your family shoulder some of the responsibility of caring for the senior in your life.

Transitioning to care is often an emotional process for seniors – one that can leave them feeling afraid, vulnerable, and angry.

Families should focus first on determining what type of care is best for their loved oneAsk your loved one what their preference for care options would be, and try to be understanding of their point of view.

While many seniors see needing assistance as a loss of their independence, finding quality care can actually prolong their independence and help them live a safer, healthier, and happier life.  An adviser from Salus Home Care can help seniors and their families find the best care options available for every situation, and will work to make the transition to care an easier and more pleasant experience.  Contact us here, (228) 207-2515
or Here

If you have any questions, we’d love to hear from you!