As we age, a certain degree of memory loss is normal. How many of us have walked into a room and forgotten what we intended to do there or been in the middle of a discussion only to forget the other person’s original question?
This is why it can be hard to detect the difference between natural signs of aging and the early onset of dementia. In this blog, we’ll review common early indicators of cognitive decline, so you can access treatment for an elderly loved one who may soon need your help.
- Problems Speaking
In the early stages of dementia, it can be challenging for the person to follow and participate in conversations. They may struggle to find the right words, say the same thing repeatedly in a brief amount of time, or stop in the middle of a conversation because they forgot what they were saying.
- Poor Judgment
Dementia affects one’s ability to make appropriate judgments. They can lose track of what is and isn’t appropriate (or even safe) in social situations. For example, your elderly loved one may open the door to accept a food delivery and start telling the delivery person how much money she has in her purse.
- Trouble With Finances
Trouble with money is an indicator of dementia. Your loved one may no longer be able to keep track of their finances. They leave bills unpaid while giving money to strangers or telemarketers and buying things they have no real use for. If your relative calls you crying that she has no money in her account and can’t buy her medication, investigate further.
- Forgetting Current Details
Is your loved one constantly forgetting things? It’s not unusual for those with dementia to remember their favorite childhood Christmas but have no idea who they visited yesterday morning. If you notice this behavior occurring a lot, the person may need your help.
- Getting Lost Easily
Those with dementia have difficulty following directions. Your elderly parent may get lost walking to the grocery store, even if they have been shopping there for years, or your spouse may take two hours to drop off the drycleaning at a store that’s only 20 minutes away.
- Unsafe Behaviors
You may notice that the person is not making safe decisions. Do they leave oven burners on and forget to turn them off, causing a pot of water to boil dry? Does their car have scratches and dents that they don’t remember happening?
An Elder Law Attorney Can Help
Supporting a loved one with dementia can be overwhelming. Attorney J. Kevin Tharpe, P.C. can help you maintain their positive quality of life by pursuing a guardianship or conservatorship that keeps them safe and preserves their financial security. He has years of experience helping families through this emotional time and will work to achieve a resolution that gives everyone peace of mind. If you would like to schedule a consultation today, call 866-253-6994.