What to Do When You Suspect That Your Loved One Is Developing Dementia
Alzheimer’s disease (AD), being a neurodegenerative disease, is the most common cause of dementia. However, dementia is only one of its many effects, although it is the most prominent one. Other effects include speech difficulties, uncoordinated motor sequences, difficulties in reading and writing as so forth.
Truth be told, watching a loved one suffer from AD is emotionally taxing. Since AD mostly presents itself in old age, a significant amount of people who’ve had a run-in with the disease experience it with their aging parents.
A Losing Battle
It’s sad, right? You may be the patient’s primary caregiver, but the fact that there’s no cure yet or even any medication to reverse the neurodegeneration must weigh down on you. However comfortable you make the patient feel, you know that you are essentially fighting a losing battle.
That having being said, however, it doesn’t mean that you should throw in the towel. Medical professionals say that recognizing AD symptoms early enough means that something can be done about it, and it all starts with making the correct diagnosis.
Early diagnosis means that the patient’s wellbeing can be preserved for longer, but this being an emotional subject, you may wonder how you could act on your suspicion that a loved one is headed down the Alzheimer’s path.
In all honesty, sharing concerns about another person’s health, regardless of the relationship you share, can be quite unsettling. With AD, however, this could just be the best thing you ever do for them.
All the same, you have to choose your time wisely. According to Dr. Beanland of the Alzheimer’s Society, you should think about having this conversation the second you start noticing changes that affect the quality of life of the individual.
It could be having silly accidents at home that never used to happen before, an unexplained change in their routine and orderliness, changes in their driving – you get the point. If these things start surfacing, this is the opportune time to sit them down and bring up the need for urgent professional help.
Are You Perfect for this Conversation?
But the question still remains, how exactly do you do this? For some, they may have noticed these changes themselves and thought to themselves that something could be wrong. Others, not so much. Either way, the first thing you should do is ask yourself if you’re the perfect candidate for this type of conversation.
Naturally, the answer to this lies within the nature of your relationship with the patient. If you’re the right candidate for the task at hand, then Dr. Beanland advises that you should find a quiet place to talk, one that is free from distractions.
On how to break the ice, the doctor says that you shouldn’t jump right in and tell them that you think they’ve got dementia. Instead, start with saying that you’re worried about them because of recent changes you’ve noticed, and ask them if they’ve seen them too.
If they agree with you, you should then set up an appointment with a General Practitioner (GP), who can the advice you further. If the person insists that there’s nothing wrong with them, visit their GP yourself and tell them of your concerns.
Although the doctor won’t share their patient’s information with you, you’ll have helped the patient in a massive way.
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