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Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatry

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Dementia can be a devastating condition that affects many elderly people and in some rare cases, even people as young as thirty years old. This condition slowly progresses throughout a person’s life to the point that they’re going to have difficulty caring for themselves and finding their way around. Many cases have had those affected forget about family members as well. It is important to understand what this condition is and how it works to be able to prepare if someone in your family is showing the early signs of dementia. 

What is Dementia?

Most consider dementia a mental illness however, it can be better classified as a syndrome. A syndrome is a collection of symptoms that fall under the same category. In dementia’s case, most diseases or impairments that affect a person’s memory or way of thinking. Some common diseases associated with dementia include:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Huntington’s Disease

All of these diseases fall under the category of dementia as they cause mental impairment and lapses in judgement that affect the person as the condition progresses. 

Early Signs of Dementia

The early signs of dementia can be subtle in how they start and can be hard to detect. It is important to understand that dementia is progressive and small symptoms will lead to more major symptoms.

Forgetfulness 

Simple forgetfulness is normal in our day and age where it is very easy to be overwhelmed by the number of things to keep track of. However, simple forgetfulness due to the hustle and bustle of life is different from forgetfulness caused by dementia. Someone with dementia will at first forget simple things like where they placed small objects and eventually get to the point that they’re forgetting about important people in their lives like family and close friends.

Weakening Problem Solving Skills and Decision Making

Problem solving is something every person does every day. A simple example would be finding a way to open a jammed jam jar. A person with advanced dementia will have trouble figuring out a way to open the jar without outside help.  This will apply to everything they will be doing that needs critical thinking and will affect how they go about their lives. Eventually, people with dementia will even have trouble doing simple tasks like opening doors and even hobbies they used to be quite good at.

Weakening Eyesight and Awareness

Many of the diseases that make up dementia affect the brain and one part that can be especially damaged by them is the part that processes what a person sees. This will lead to a person having poor eyesight or have difficulty processing what’s in front of them. A person with dementia will not only have poor eyesight but also poor depth perception and they can be constantly bumping into things if they don’t have eyewear to help adjust their eyesight.

Personality Changes

One of the most common symptoms of dementia is a shift in a person’s personality. They can end up being paranoid of everything around them. This can make it difficult to approach and interact with someone with dementia. They can also be easy to irritate and can easily lash out.

Change in Social Skills and Needs

A person with dementia will experience not only a shift in personality but also in how they interact with others. They might abandon old groups of friends in favor of being alone.  Those affected by dementia will also have trouble keeping up with their friends because of their failing memory.

Recognizing the early signs of dementia can help family members prepare for when a person can no longer care for themselves. It is however, important to constantly remind that person that they still have a family that’s there for them despite their condition.

August 30th, 2019

Posted In: Dementia

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