Early Stage Dementia: What To Do

Recognizing Early Stage Alzheimer’s in the Washington DC area

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition that affects each individual differently. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for roughly 80% of all new dementia diagnoses. Each stage of Alzheimer’s introduces symptoms that directly impacts the cognitive and functional abilities of the individual. In the early stage of the disease, symptoms are generally mild and may be difficult to notice. At this stage, the individual may functional independently with the ability to complete all of their own activities of daily living. However, they may begin experiencing frequent memory lapses or the inability to identify familiar words. Friends and family may notice the individual struggling with performing routine tasks or maintaining organization. During a medical examination, doctors may identify problems in memory or concentration. It can be helpful to involve Senior Care professionals, family and friends in the examination to provide their personal accounts of symptoms, as the individual may not be readily able to identify changes in themselves.

Common challenges in the Early-Stage of Alzheimer’s include:

  • Difficulties with planning or organization
  • Difficulties with recalling the right word or name for familiar objects
  • Difficulties with performing social or work tasks
  • Frequent memory lapses
  • Frequently losing or misplacing valuable objects
  • Difficulties with retaining new information
  • Difficulty following storylines
  • Deteriorating sense of direction

Once medical examinations are completed and an Alzheimer’s dementia diagnosis is received, it’s important to optimize the safety and quality of life of the individual. Caregivers and friends should provide the individual with support and empathy while preparing for upcoming challenges ahead. Senior Home Care professionals should discuss advance directives and preferred future plans of care with the individual, to ensure that their wishes are upheld when they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves. Take the time to carefully plan for comprehensive and holistic care which meets the entire needs of the individual– it’s the best way to honor their life and legacy. Finding holistic and comprehensive care in the Washington, D.C area can be challenging. However, care that is tailored to the needs of the individual and enhances their well-being is essential to ensuring longevity.

Sources

Alzheimer’s Association . (2017). Stages of Alzheimer’s. Retrieved from alz.org: http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_stages_of_alzheimers.asp#mild

Higuera, V., & Ellis, M. (2016, July 12). 10 Early Symptoms of Dementia. Retrieved from healthline.com: http://www.healthline.com/health/dementia/early-warning-signs

Mayo Clinic. (2017). Dementia. Retrieved from mayoclinic.org: http:www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dementia/diagnosis-treatment/diagnosis/dxc-20198511

Activities to Keep Elders with Dementia Engaged

Elder Care in McLean VA

Seniors with dementia may begin to withdraw from activities with family members or friends. They may even become uninterested in hobbies Elder-Care-in-McLean-VAthat used to bring them joy. Although they may not feel like it, it is important they continue to socialize and stay active as a way to ward off feelings of isolation or depression.

Not only will these activities help the elder connect with loved ones once again, but they will also stimulate their mind, prolonging the effects of dementia. After the disease begins to progress, they will find it difficult to communicate with others or participate in a conversation. At this point an elder care provider will be needed to assist them with appointments, chores, and anything else they are unable to do by themselves. Try out these activities to slow down the progression of dementia for your loved one.

  • Clean up. This may not seem like a fun activity to most, but can be fulfilling for someone with dementia. Whether they are sweeping, folding clothes, or wiping off the table, being able to complete these tasks alone will give the elder a sense of accomplishment.
  • Garden. Gardening is a great way to get some exercise without even realizing it. However, if it is too difficult for the elder, take them to a botanical garden. Botanical gardens consist of hundreds of acres that are filled with bright, sweet smelling flowers.
  • Work on a puzzle. Puzzles are a great way to get the brain thinking. This may include jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, or word searches. Whatever type of puzzle they prefer will help strengthen their brain and memory.
  • Watch family movies. One way to jog your loved one’s memory is through family videos or photo albums. Watching forgotten memories unfold right before their eyes will help remind them of those happy times.
  • Create a craft. Elders who enjoy knitting or other craft projects will definitely enjoy working on a new craft project with you. Whether you decide to learn a new crafting skill or want to encourage your loved one to pursue a hobby they were once very passionate about, this is an excellent activity to help keep the brain active.
  • Play music. Does your loved one have any favorite songs from their childhood? Playing them will help the elder to remember fond memories associated to those songs.

Caring for someone with dementia can be very challenging. These activities will keep their brain working and slow down the progression of the disease.

If you or an aging loved one are considering ELDER CARE IN MCLEAN, VA, please call the friendly staff at Philia Care today at 202-607-2525.