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Posted by The Woodlands on March 15, 2023

Dementia is most commonly associated with the decline of cognitive function and the loss of memories. However, memory loss is just one of the dementia symptoms that can occur after a diagnosis. If you’re only searching for signs of memory loss in a loved one, you could be missing other vital signs. 

At The Woodlands of Canterfield, our memory care serves as your compass to help you and your family navigate the challenges of dementia. While dementia is still a mystery in many ways, educating yourself with as much information as possible is important to keep your loved one safe and properly cared for. Here are five dementia symptoms that go beyond memory loss.

1. Challenges with Planning & Problem-Solving

Everyone has days when things seem off. For instance, you might forget about an appointment, have difficulty balancing your checkbook if your brain is in a fog or misplace your car keys or cell phone. These things happen from time to time, but when a person is living with dementia, these innocent mistakes can become more profound and concerning. 

A person living with dementia may misplace things in strange places; for example, putting their phone in the freezer or their eyeglasses in the dishwasher. This can become dangerous if they begin to misplace important things like paperwork, medication or other health-related items.

2. Difficulties with Activities of Daily Living

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) are the essential tasks that a person must complete in order to live independently and experience a positive quality of life, including:

  • Personal Hygiene/Grooming
  • Dressing
  • Toileting
  • Mobility
  • Eating

When a person is unable to manage their ADLs, it can become a hazard to their safety. For example, a person living with dementia may dress strangely or inappropriately for the weather (i.e., wearing sandals to go out in the snow) or be unable to follow a recipe and safely prepare a meal.

3. Confusion with Time and Place

This symptom goes beyond forgetting the time or an address, often resulting in not knowing the season or losing track of the passage of time. 

Dementia affects the areas of the brain associated with the passage of time in a way that progressively deteriorates their ability to tell time, understand how much time has passed or estimate how much time they’ve spent doing something.

4. Withdrawal from Socializing

Dementia alters the way a person is able to communicate with others. In the early stages of dementia, a person typically remains socially active but might repeat stories or confuse words and names. However, as dementia progresses, it can become more challenging for a person living with dementia to effectively communicate with others.

“For example, if verbal communication becomes too much of a struggle, a person may give up on trying to communicate. Or if an individual is aware that they cannot remember people’s names or details of recent conversations they have had, it might feel easier to withdraw from further contact (”

5. Changes in Mood and Personality

When a person is living with dementia, mood and personality changes can appear in the form of mood swings triggered for no specific reason. For instance, your loved one might get angry or frustrated quickly or become confused and suspicious of those around them. 

Coping with Dementia Symptoms

Dementia affects every person differently. While some individuals may recognize these changes in themselves, others may not. This is why it’s important for friends and family members to learn how to recognize and manage dementia symptoms

Pay special attention to any symptoms outside of memory loss they might be exhibiting. Keep track of situations so you can identify any recurring behaviors, triggers and reactions and discuss these with a healthcare provider. 

If your loved one is living with dementia, a diagnosis is vital so you can start uncovering management and treatment options. At The Woodlands at Canterfield, our memory care community provides a safe, calming environment for individuals and families. Your loved one is the focus of all that we do. This, coupled with activities-focused philosophy, is grounded in the belief that the abilities that remain for each individual, no matter how small, are important building blocks and more essential than what is lost.

We invite you to schedule a tour and let our associates show you how Navigate Memory Care at The Woodlands at Canterfield can help your family find support and peace of mind.

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