The holidays are a time when families get together — sometimes after long periods apart.
“If you haven?t seen your elderly loved one in a while, you might be more likely to notice changes in their memory and behavior that worries you,” said Gregory Jicha, M.D., Ph.D., of the UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging.
Look for these early signs of dementia in an elderly loved one:
- It’s normal for someone to forget a date or a name but suddenly remember it later. However, pay attention if they ask for the same information repeatedly, or struggle to recall important dates (like their own birthdate).
- Are they having trouble following a recipe? Problem-solving skills can deteriorate in someone with Alzheimer’s.
- Do they get lost when driving to a familiar location? If they have difficulty completing familiar tasks, it might be a sign of AD.
- Healthy people occasionally struggle to find the right word, but using the wrong word — particularly if they call something by the wrong name — merits further scrutiny.
- Poor judgment: are they giving lots of money to telemarketers or charities?
- Poor hygiene.
- Personality changes: are they suddenly irrational, fearful, or suspicious?
If you see any behavior that worries you, talk to your doctor or a neurologist for a thorough evaluation.