6 Signs Your Loved One May Be Hiding Signs of Dementia
Memory disorders can be deeply embarrassing for those living with them.
No one likes to feel a step behind – especially not when it comes to memory and mental alertness.
Because of this, many seniors hide signs of dementia from their loved ones and even their caregivers. This makes it tough for family members and caregivers to detect dementia, 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.
“When it comes to dementia, a person’s pride can feel threatened,” says Larry Meigs, CEO and President of Visiting Angels. “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 loved one may be starting to suffer from dementia, but fear he or she is trying to hide their condition, you can keep an eye out for these signs of dementia:
1. Struggling to Communicate
As your loved one ages, he or she may occasionally have difficulty finding a word or remembering the details of an event from a year ago. Frequent pauses, forgetting the names of family members or substituting the wrong words may be signs of dementia.
2. Short-Term Memory Loss
Occasionally forgetting the details of a conversation from a year ago or forgetting where an item is placed are normal behaviors; however, it’s not normal struggling to recall details of very recent conversations or to not recognize family members.
3. Excuses, Explanations and Denial
When your loved one struggles to remember something, loses track of thought or struggles to follow a conversation, they may come up with an involved reason or excuse. If this becomes a pattern of behavior, it may be a sign that he or she is covering up a bigger problem.
4. 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.
5. Refusal to Try New Things
Dementia can make learning new things difficult. That means people with dementia often avoid new activities or information to avoid embarrassment.
6. Bouts of Silence and Irritability
While a change in mood can be a sign of other issues such as depression, people with dementia often go through stretches where they become quieter and withdrawn.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 compassionate, gentle, non-judgmental way. Remember that it may take several attempts to have the conversation.
It’s not easy, but there are effective ways to have this conversation. Click here for advice on how to talk to your elderly loved one about needing help.