Articles of Interest

Is Your Loved One Hiding Signs of Dementia?

signs of dementiaMemory disorders can be deeply embarrassing for those who suffer from them. No one likes to feel a step behind – especially not when it comes to one’s memory and mental alertness. Because of this, many seniors hide signs of dementia from their loved ones and even their professional elder care providers. This makes it tough for family members and other caregivers to detect Alzheimer’s and other memory disorders. It can also make it difficult to start a conversation about care without angering or hurting your loved one’s feelings.

“Our elder care providers have heard countless stories from our clients about how difficult that first conversation can be,” says Larry Meigs, CEO and President of Visiting Angels. “When it comes to dementia, a person’s pride can feel threatened. Many times, it’s only when a kind and compassionate family member spots the signs of dementia that a dementia-sufferer starts receiving the support and care they need.”

If you suspect your love one may be starting to suffer from Alzheimer’s or another memory disorder, but fear he or she is trying to hide their condition, you can keep an eye out for these signs of dementia.

  • Excuses, Explanations, and Denial. When your loved one struggles to remember something, loses track of a thought, or struggles to follow conversation, they may come up with an involved reason or excuse. If this becomes a pattern of behavior, it may be a sign that they are covering up a bigger problem.
  • Over-reliance on a Spouse or Caregiver. At the onset of dementia, small tasks may become difficult, leading sufferers to rely on a spouse or caregiver’s support. Spouses in particular may lie or cover-up for the sufferer.
  • Refusal to Try New Things. At Visiting Angels, our elder care providers know that dementia can make learning new things difficult. That means dementia sufferers often avoid new activities or information to avoid embarrassment.
  • Bouts of Quiet and/or Irritability. While a change in mood can be a sign of other issues, such as depression, dementia sufferers often go through stretches where they become more quiet and withdrawn. They may also lash out and become temperamental.

If your loved one is presenting some of these signs of dementia, it may be wise to have a talk with them about your concerns. This is an extremely sensitive subject – there’s a reason so many seniors hide their initial symptoms. So when approaching your loved one, do so in a compassion, gentle, non-judgmental way. Remember that it may take several attempts to have the conversation.

Families facing early-stage dementia and Alzheimer’s often turn to Visiting Angels for help keeping a loved one in the comfort of their home for longer. Contact your local Visiting Angels office today to find out how our elder care providers can help you and your family.

Each Visiting Angels agency is a franchise that is independently owned and operated. The Franchisor, Living Assistance Services Inc., does not control or manage the day to day business operations of any Visiting Angels franchised agency.