Here's a helpful guide I posted in July, 2008 that is worth repeating It's not always easy to tell when a loved one is experiencing the onset of dementia. Here are some significant signs that are provided below as a courtesy from their author, Jean Bandos, MSN, RN, GCNS-BC Research Director at "My Health Care Manager," a national company that helps seniors and their families manage the complexities of older adult life.
*Forgetfulness - not just forgetting names or appointments, but frequently forgetting doctor’s appointments, important anniversaries, birthdays and other special dates that would have never been forgotten in the past.
*Forgetting to the point that it causes confusion and interruption with daily activities.
*Forgetting to turn off the stove – we have all left a burner on accidentally, but if this is a frequent event or if the older adult does not remember cooking at all, then it is no longer a “normal” part of aging.
*Everyone experiences difficulties finding the right words, especially in stressful situations. It’s a bigger issue when an older adult cannot remember simple words and substitutes his or her own words making it difficult to follow what they are saying.
*Misplacing items is common for everybody, but it becomes a “memory problem” if the keys are found in the freezer or the ice tray is in the dryer.
*Finances – there is a problem if a senior has always kept an accurate checkbook in the past and now it never balances.
*Impaired judgment, such as dressing appropriately. This does not mean the senior is mixing plaids and strips, or purples and reds, but is caught wearing a bathrobe to the shopping mall or putting on several shirts instead of one.