If your senior loved one occasionally forgets where keys have been placed or can’t remember other minor things now and then, there’s probably no reason to be concerned. In fact, memory lapses of this nature are considered normal as the brain ages. However, there are times when it’s best to err on the side of caution and talk to your loved one about dementia testing. Here are some of the signs to look for that suggest this is a step worth considering.
Mild Cognitive Impairment Is Evident
Some forms of cognitive impairment are more troubling for older adults. For this reason, dementia testing is something to discuss with your loved one and his or her doctor if there are signs of what’s referred to as mild cognitive impairment, or MCI. Symptoms commonly associated with MCI, according to Mayo Clinic, include:
• Increased forgetfulness
• Forgetting important things like appointments or taking medication
• Losing train of thought mid-conversation
• Having difficulty with routine and familiar tasks
• Showing poor judgment
No matter what’s causing your loved one’s symptoms, a professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support for the whole family. Caring for senior loved ones can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
There’s a Family History of Dementia
The Alzheimer’s Association cites a family history of dementia as one of the top dementia-related risk factors. If members of your loved one’s family have or had dementia, testing can, at the very least, provide some much-appreciated peace of mind.
Note: Blood tests can be done to identify certain genes or other markers associated with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia.
Other Risk Factors Apply
Dementia testing can also be appropriate if other risk factors apply to your loved one. Stanford Health Care and the Alzheimer’s Association list the following factors as being related to increased dementia risk:
• Being 65 or older
• Having Down syndrome*
• Being a smoker
• Not being physically active
• Having poor sleep habits
• Having diabetes, high blood pressure, or similar chronic health issues
*People with Down syndrome are more susceptible to developing early-onset dementia.
You Suspect Other Issues Are Mimicking Dementia Symptoms
Exhibiting signs of dementia doesn’t automatically mean your loved one actually has a dementia-related condition. If the risk factors mentioned above don’t apply to your loved one, testing for dementia can determine if there are treatable conditions or issues responsible for the symptoms you’re noticing. Possibilities include:
• Infections and immune disorders
• Thyroid problems and other metabolic or endocrine issues
• Vitamin deficiencies
• Medication side effects
If you’re caring for a loved one with dementia, you don’t have to face the challenges alone. Families looking for top-rated Rhode Island elder care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.
You Want to Help Your Loved One Boost His or Her Cognitive Health
There’s no single test for dementia. Instead, the process involves several steps, including a physical exam, blood tests, and a review and discussion of symptoms observed. Because of how thorough this process typically is, the results can give you a better idea of what you might be able to do to boost your loved one’s cognitive health. Some older adults with memory issues can enhance their cognitive abilities by:
• Eating healthier foods
• Getting down to a healthy weight range
• Changing exercise habits
• Doing regular cognitive exercises to enhance mental clarity and cognitive skills
If your loved one is diagnosed with dementia, compassionate professional help is just a phone call away. Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Rhode Island seniors can benefit greatly from the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program designed to promote cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. CTM is included at no additional charge with any of the in-home care plans provided by Home Care Assistance. To learn about our quality-assured services, give us a call at (401) 284-0979 today.