One of the things that many caretakers of older loved ones are thinking about is the onset of possible dementia as their loved one ages in place. It is something that should be on the mind of caretakers as they keep an eye out for signs of the disorder. However, there are some things that may occur along the way that may present as dementia, but that are actually common and not as serious as the start of dementia.
When you are the caretaker for a loved one, if they are experiencing some symptoms and signs of dementia you may want to first have a few other issues investigated before jumping right to dementia. Spending time investigating some of these easier to spot and identify issues, can save you months, if not years, of anguish trying to help your loved one through a misdiagnosis.
The first thing that many medical professionals will ask a patient who may be experiencing new symptoms is whether or not he/she is taking new medications. A newly prescribed medication can often impact someone’s abilities in ways that are unexpected. In fact, a new medication can interact with other medications or other conditions to cause fogginess and other cognitive impairments.
Your loved one could be experiencing sudden changes in their cognitive abilities due to a sudden respiratory illness. These illnesses, which may include COVID-19, can cause your brain to feel foggy, tired, and unfocused. These symptoms may mimic the symptoms of dementia, but are just a result of the respiratory illness that your loved one is experiencing.
It is not uncommon for older folks to experience difficulties sleeping. If you’ve ever experienced this yourself you know that lack of sleep snowballs and becomes a serious medical condition over time. The lack of sleep can not only cause medical conditions it can also cause your brain to mimic the conditions commonly seen in patient’s with dementia and therefore can present as dementia-like symptoms.
As you’re working as a caregiver for your loved one who is aging in place, you should be on the lookout for these symptoms as they can be a sign of dementia, but they can also be the sign of another medical condition that should not go untreated. It is important that if you notice any of these signs or symptoms that you bring them to your loved one’s medical provider’s attention immediately.