Many older adults worry about dementia. The aging process normally includes some forgetfulness, but dementia is quite different.
reduced ability to multitask. The aging brain simply needs to slow down and do one thing at a time. It may take longer to do things, but they do get done.
slower recall. An older adult might not remember a word or event right away, but will eventually. It might take a few minutes, or hours, but the memory will surface.
Dementia is more disorienting
It involves the inability to make new memories. It’s like a blank slate. The memory just isn’t there. The event didn’t stick. Dementia also involves losing the ability to do even common activities, such as use a phone or make change. Tasks that require multiple steps will become increasingly difficult.
The early stage of dementia can be one of confusion, fear, and depression. Even if there is no formal diagnosis, the person with the memory issue often senses that something is wrong. And he or she may still have enough self-awareness to understand the consequences of a disease such as Alzheimer’s. It’s equally likely that the person may not recognize their own decline. They just don’t recall recent events. It’s nothing they are doing on purpose. It’s not like they can “try harder.” They can’t. The memories simply don’t form.
In the early stages, you may not even know there is a problem. Your family member may just seem a little less “with it.” People are very adept at compensating. And if your relative is married, a spouse may naturally take up the slack. But if you suspect something is not right, get a full medical assessment just to be sure.
Early diagnosis is important. Medications are available that can slow the progression of the symptoms. And it may be that your loved one’s confusion is caused by something such as depression, which can be cured. The sooner your family member gets tested, the sooner treatment can begin.
Deciding who to tell and when. Many people feel ashamed of a diagnosis of dementia. And some people or situations may become uncomfortable once a diagnosis is disclosed. This is a very personal decision.
Concern about driving. Driving requires thinking and good spatial skills. Dementia impairs both of these. The person with dementia is not likely to even recognize they have a problem. Everyone will eventually need to retire from driving. Knowing exactly when to stop is complicated. Read our article about driving safely and talk with the doctor.
Depression is big. Depression can cause many of the same symptoms as dementia. And, a person with memory problems can get very frustrated and feel very blue. Especially after a formal diagnosis, it is not uncommon for the patient to become depressed. The good news is that depression can be treated. Staying on top of the depression can at least lessen the number of factors contributing to your relative’s confusion or distress.
Join a support group. People in the early stages of dementia have special problems and needs. So do their family members. Gathering with others can provide a tremendous amount of comfort for you both. You are also likely to learn valuable tips for handling common situations.
Important legal and financial decisions. This is the time to make decisions about financial and medical matters. Now, when your loved one is still able to assess options, he or she should complete an advance directive. Your relative should also arrange for a will or living trust. He or she should assign a person to handle finances when managing money becomes too difficult. See our article about proxy decision makers in Your Changing Role.
What an excellent resource for the senior community! I work with this agency on a professional level and they provide unbiased opinions that help seniors and their families navigate the medical community, local programs & resources available to them. The staff is so kind & caring. They make a hard time in one's life a little easier to manage!
I have worked with this organization professionally for a number of years. I have always found their services to be beneficial to clients who need help navigating the waters when trying to make difficult decisions. Caring Strategies has an excellent reputation in the senior services industry and is a company that you can trust. The team will have your family's best interests at heart.
As a provider of services for the elderly, I have worked with the Caring Strategies team in several instances and I am always so impressed with the caring and professional way in which they do business. In many instances, they are working with individuals who are at an age where they are not only losing their independence in areas, but they are also at the point in life where they need help - both of these are among the most difficult things to accept. The team at Caring Strategies is able to come in and provide the needed service in a dignified and caring manner, which allows all involved to feel more at ease and confident knowing their needs are being met in a safe and dignified manner. I highly recommend giving them a call to discuss how they can help in your situation.
If I could give 10+ stars for Caring Strategies I would!!! The Owner, Jeanie Tauss a Certified Care Manager has a heart of gold and it shines through her entire team. Each team member are such caring souls and combined with their extensive backgrounds they are able to provide the support and guidance that their clients/families need. They have gone above and beyond to help me and I'm so grateful for them!!!
Carin Strategies is a lifesaver for families looking for assistance with their aging loved ones who need guidance and direction on care where it be at home or in a senior living community. Their team is very professional and experts in helping family caregivers find a solution in navigating this process.
The Caring Strategies professionals and staff were just wonderful. Having moved to the area during the pandemic and under very stressful/difficult circumstances, Jeanie was a calm and comforting support. Carla and Jeanie both were very supportive, encouraging, and professional. Can't thank them enough. I recommend those who maybe caring for older adults in their lives to consider consulting with Caring Strategies.
What a great resource we have in Caring Strategies! Even if you think you know all the resources for elderly care, set up a consultation with Caring Strategies to know what you may not know.Last year, my mother had a sudden health decline. As I didn't know all the resources available to her, I followed up on a recommendation to find a senior care specialist. Jeanie Tauss' guidance allowed me to ask the right questions, see the right people, and find the perfect solution for my mother's needs. Mother is so happy and healthy a year later.