Understanding the Importance of Early Diagnosis of Dementia
The thought of living with dementia can be stressful and anxiety-inducing for many aging adults. Family members and loved ones may experience similar emotions at the thought of seeing someone they care deeply for struggle with their cognitive health. Thankfully, with a proactive approach, early diagnosis of dementia can be possible.
When diagnosed early, healthcare professionals can assist you in creating an effective care plan to help preserve cognitive health for longer than without proper treatment. Today, we’re going to cover the importance of early diagnosis of dementia, signs to look out for, and diagnosis.
Why Early Diagnosis is Important
As with any long-term or chronic condition, the sooner you identify it, the faster it can be treated. Intervening in the early stages can play a significant role in prolonging one’s quality of life. It can also help mentally and emotionally prepare an individual and their loved ones for the later stages where symptoms might worsen.
When you receive an early diagnosis for dementia, you can take preventative measures to slow the progression or seek treatment options for cognitive impairment. You can access a network of resources like healthcare professionals and a wealth of information, treatment options, and support.
For many, a diagnosis can also provide a sense of relief. You finally have an answer for the symptoms you are experiencing and can start receiving the necessary treatment to prolong your cognitive and neurological health.
Early Signs of Dementia
Common early symptoms of dementia include:
Changes in Short-Term Memory
Can you recall an event that happened over a decade ago but struggle to remember what you did earlier today? This can be a sign of a change in short-term memory function. One of the most telling early symptoms of dementia.
Difficulties with Communication
Dementia affects a person’s ability to communicate quickly and efficiently. You may find that your conversations take longer because you cannot find the right words or struggle to express yourself correctly. Reading and writing might also become more difficult tasks as a result.
Differences in Mood or Personality
Many individuals who struggle with early dementia can experience depression. You may experience a lack of interest in your favorite hobbies or activities. Social withdrawal can also be common.
As a result of experiencing a decline in short-term memory function, a person with early dementia might forget what they had just said or done. This can result in behaviors like repeating daily tasks frequently or saying the same statement or question several times.
Increase Resistance to Change
The confusion caused by dementia can create a fear of change. You find yourself seeking routine, and deviations can result in stress or anxiety.
Other Signs to Look Out For
These signs and symptoms may not present themselves until reaching later stages of dementia. However, it is important to still be mindful of them. According to the NIH’s National Institute on Aging, here are some other signs you might want to look out for:
- Wandering or losing your sense of direction in a familiar setting
- Difficulty managing spending and other financial responsibilities
- Associating unusual words with familiar items
- Impulsive behavior not typical of your usual conduct
- A disregard for the feelings of other people
- Losing balance or experiencing difficulty moving
- Hallucinations, delusions, or experiencing feelings of paranoia
Seeking a Formal Diagnosis for Dementia
If you’ve experienced two or more of these symptoms, it’s time to talk to your doctor. They can refer you to a neurologist who can help determine the cause of your cognitive loss.
While cognitive loss can be caused by aging, dementia-related diseases, it can also be caused by other health issues, like diet and lifestyle habits. Your diagnosis may include memory tests, brain imaging scans, neurological exams, and blood work.
Receiving a diagnosis allows you to ask questions and create a system that will help you cope with cognitive decline or dementia. That may include medication, therapy, support services, and cognitive training. You can also begin the process of finding an Alzheimer’s and dementia care facility that will continue your treatment.
Learn More About Memory Care Options in Columbus, OH
At Kemper House Worthington, we strive to provide the highest-quality and most compassionate memory care possible to our neighbors in the Columbus, Ohio area. If you are interested in learning more about transitioning to a memory care home, contact us anytime to learn more.