My Parent Has Bouts of Memory Loss But Is It Dementia?
Dementia is an umbrella term for over 60 different types of memory loss. Alzheimer’s disease is the largest type of dementia but there are many different forms. Because it is a progressive disease, it will continue to get worse. Some forms of memory loss are reversible and I will talk about these as well.
Basically, if the memory loss is life impacting, then it is important to have the person assessed. It is typical for mature adults to have a slowing of the neuro processing in their brains. However, if they are consistently losing their keys; getting lost in familiar places or not keeping up with activities of daily living, they might need to be evaluated. Eliminating physical reasons for memory loss is the first step your doctor will take. After that, a memory test will be performed. Drugs may be prescribed. They help some people in the early stages but if they have waited too long, they may not do any good.
One of the most frustrating aspects of dementia or Alzheimer’s is the inability to self-report where they have been or what they have been doing or if something is bothering them. Bringing caregivers into the home of such a vulnerable person can set up a potentially abusive situation so always make unannounced visits to see how things are going. People with dementia may get confused easily and exhibit aggressive behaviors. Always look for a cause: Is it too loud? To much stimulation? Is someone angry? They will act out as a result. Since they are no longer able to cognitively process, they use their senses to pick up on what is going on around them.
Reversible dementias are those caused by:
- lack of sleep
- sleep apnea
- medical conditions and more
Have a Psychiatrist or Geriatrician diagnose your elder. They can determine if they are truly getting dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association and Memory Care Home Solutions in the St. Louis area offer excellent advice on caring for someone with dementia. Also, visit our site to view the 1 hour video Caring for Parents Together offers to train family caregivers on how to manage behaviors and communicate with someone with dementia.