When Should My Senior Loved One Be Evaluated for Dementia?

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When Do Older Adults Need to Get Dementia Tests in Rockwall, TX

Dementia is commonly associated with aging. However, it’s not inevitable that a senior will develop Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. That being said, it’s also important to be aware of some valid signs that suggest it’s worth having your older loved one tested for dementia. Here are the more common reasons to consider doing this.

Troubling Cognitive Changes

Memory-related issues are commonly associated with dementia. But mild to moderate forgetfulness can be a normal part of aging, according to the National Institutes of Health. If you’re noticing more troubling cognitive changes in your loved one, it may warrant testing for dementia. Memory-related issues that could be associated with dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association and Mayo Clinic, include:

• Difficulty finishing conversations or finding the right words
• Challenges with problem-solving
• Forgetting familiar names of people and places
• Confusion and disorientation
• Difficulty completing simple tasks or following basic directions

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.

Uncharacteristic Psychological Changes

Dementia can affect more than memory. In fact, psychological changes may be noticeable before memory issues become apparent in some seniors with dementia-related conditions. Testing is something to consider if you’re seeing signs of any of the following psychological changes in your loved one:

• Irritability that’s out of character
• Depression or increased anxiety
• Agitation and/or paranoia
• Actions or behaviors that are out of character or inappropriate

Concerning Physical Changes

Parkinson’s dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, Alzheimer’s, and other forms of dementia can also contribute to physical changes in aging adults. Signs of this nature may include no longer caring about appearance, neglecting personal care tasks such as brushing teeth or bathing, and wearing clothes that aren’t appropriate for the season or weather.

If you’re caring for a loved one with dementia, you don’t have to face the challenges alone. Families looking for top-rated Rowlett senior 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.

Comments from Family Members or Friends

Testing for dementia may also be warranted if you’re getting comments or feedback from your loved one’s other family members or friends about his or her behavior. If comments of this nature are increasingly frequent and come from people who know your loved one well, testing can, at the very least, provide some peace of mind.

Dementia Risk Factors

Encouraging your loved one to get tested for dementia is also a step worth considering if he or she has known risk factors for dementia-related conditions. This list, according to the Alzheimer’s Society, includes:

• Advanced age
• Chronic health conditions (e.g., high blood pressure, diabetes)
• Family history of dementia-related conditions
• Smoking, poor eating habits, and other lifestyle factors
• Excess alcohol consumption
• Head injuries

What Happens during Testing

It’s also important to understand what dementia testing involves. First of all, it’s not a single test. Testing for dementia involves a series of tests that typically include a physical exam, a discussion with your loved one and anyone who usually cares for him or her, and laboratory tests.

The lab tests are done to rule out other conditions that might resemble dementia, such as thyroid problems. Nutritional deficiencies and medication side effects may also produce dementia-like symptoms. It should also be noted that a diagnosis of dementia is often made only after other possible sources have been ruled out. 

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. Rowlett 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. Call us today at (972) 722-7833 to learn about our high-quality in-home care services.

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