The conversation of dementia is an easy one for a family to put off. Often uncomfortable and heart wrenching, that choice can be the difference between years of happy, healthy independent living. Over 5 million Americans are living with some form of dementia. While there is much that can be done to protect those afflicted, early detection is the single best key to protecting your family, loved ones and their independence.
Everyone forgets small things from time to time. However, noticing an uptick in misplacing or forgetting important objects such as keys or precious jewelry can be an early indicator of larger problems. This can be a serious cause for alarm when it is accompanied by accusations of theft. An onset of paranoia is a red flag that something could be seriously wrong.
This is a wide umbrella term, but it covers a lot of necessary ground. Everything from difficulty reading, judging distances, and confusing times and locations can be an indication that something isn’t right. These symptoms can quickly manifest into becoming easily confused during day to day activity, or even lost during even routine travel.
Time changes everyone, but sometimes more than time is at work. Dementia can frequently take a toll on every aspect of an individual, including their personality. Sometimes, it’s little things like (the aforementioned) being a bit more forgetful than they used to be. Other times, they become more anxious, fearful, or depressed. Other times, people can withdrawal entirely, isolating themselves from social situations. Any of these shifts can be brought on by, or accompanied, by unpredictable mood swings.
Conversations about declining mental health are always fraught. It’s a good idea to plan out avenues to bring it up in advance. Asking if they had noticed their symptoms is often the best, most direct way to broach the subject. Another way would be to ask about their own Long Term Care plans, particularly if you are a potential caretaker. Once you both acknowledge the situation, the path ahead is frequently, easily paved by clear communication, a trusted doctor and Elder Law professional. Early treatment and care can stave off the necessity of moving into assisted living.
If you or your family need any help navigating these choppy waters, please do not hesitate to call us at Middleton Law Offices, and let us help your family find the comfort you need.