Information you need to live a happy, worry-free retirement!
Originally published November 28, 2014, last updated December 1, 2014
As you or those you care about begin to age, you are likely to start to worry about Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. These conditions are frightening to consider and can be difficult to experience or watch your loved ones live with. The good news is that not all instances of forgetfulness in the senior years are immediate signs of dementia.
At any age, it's normal to forget where you put the remote control or blank on an appointment or two during a busy week. In this article, we'll look at some signs that may indicate something more serious than normal absent-mindedness is going on. If you see any of these red flags in yourself or someone you know, it's important to go to the doctor as soon as possible. While dementia is frightening, there are ways to manage it and more research is being done all the time, so it's in your best interest to seek medical help for yourself or a loved one if these signs are present.
Trouble with familiar tasks and settings
If you begin to have trouble completing tasks you've done for years without difficulty, this is a possible red flag of dementia. Examples of this could include forgetting the rules to a game you play with friends every weekend or no longer recalling how to get to your sister's house where she has lived for years.
Similarly, not remembering where you are or what day it is on a more than occasional basis can be a sign of dementia. Getting disoriented in familiar settings is another issue you should pay attention to — getting lost in your own neighborhood, for example, is not typical.
Trouble with understanding, speaking and writing
People with dementia often have trouble reading and understanding other visual input like distance, color and spatial relationships generally. According to the Ellwood City Ledger, passing by a mirror and not recognizing yourself is a typical manifestation of these issues.
In the same vein, other warning signs of dementia include having issues with holding a conversation. You may be unable to think of words or simply not understand anymore what having a discussion means and be too confused to continue. These difficulties can extend to writing as well. If having trouble finding the right word is not normal for you and it is becoming frequent, it is a good idea to see a doctor.