When dementia is first diagnosed, many seniors attempt to "hide" the symptoms. Naturally, as we age we want to maintain a sense of dignity, and the diagnosis of dementia can be devastating. Many seniors have anosognosia, a term used for those who don't really realize they're exhibiting the earliest signs of the disease - essentially, the senior isn't aware of his/her impairment. It isn't easy for seniors to admit dementia is taking hold of their lives.
Below are some of the early symptoms of dementia, and how seniors may attempt to hide the disease
Behavioral changes. When a senior refuses to participate in an activity or chore they once enjoyed, it could be he or she has simply forgotten how it's done. For instance, if your aging loved one used to love playing cards or working jigsaw puzzles and now refuses, it could be that he/she has forgotten how and is refusing in order to hide the fact that the activity now seems foreign.
Denial. Anyone can forget where they placed their car keys, and even those without dementia develop memory issues as they grow older. However, when a pattern seems to develop and your loved one frequently forgets where he/she has placed an item, forgets important appointments, or even gets lost on routes they have driven countless times in the past, it could be a sign of dementia. Your loved one will likely have an excuse for most occasions, and will insist there isn't a problem.
The "cover up." Have you noticed your mother, who usually keeps an impeccable house, has begun leaving piles of dishes in the sink or has laundry piled on the sofa that's yet to be folded? Perhaps your dad seems to finish her sentences a lot of the time. Sometimes it isn't just the one suffering from dementia, but his/her spouse that tries to cover up the issue.
Secrecy. Most seniors don't want to admit to themselves or their family members that their mental or physical health is declining. Why? For most, it's a fear of being placed in a nursing home or senior living facility and losing their freedom and independence. Those with the early symptoms of dementia are often very good at denial and secrecy. For some, covering up a slip of the memory is easy. Studies have shown that depending on level of education/intellect, some people can keep their symptoms of dementia secret for a lengthy period of time. As an adult child of a parent who may have dementia, it's critical to keep a close eye out for symptoms and deterioration in mental or physical function.
At Care Indeed, our San Francisco dementia caregivers are highly trained and capable, but most important of all, compassionate. We provide customized in home care for all of your needs, whether a senior needs help around the house with daily tasks or has dementia, Alzheimer's, or other physical/mental conditions. We know that a helping hand often makes it possible for seniors to remain in their homes, the one thing they want most.
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