Older adults are more afraid of a dementia diagnosis than anything else, according to one YouGov survey, beating out cancer and every other illness.
Seniors are often very reluctant to discuss changes in their memory, thinking, or reasoning with their doctor. However, there is a lot of evidence – both scientific and anecdotal from seniors and caregivers who have been there – supporting the notion that an earlier diagnosis leads to a better outcome. There are multiple reasons why memory concerns should always be discussed promptly with the doctor.
Memory Loss is Sometimes Reversible
One important reason to talk to the doctor about changes in thinking or memory is that these symptoms are sometimes reversible. There are many conditions that can cause confusion or memory loss, and some can be treated. If mental changes are due to any of these conditions, for example, symptoms can clear up with proper treatment.
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Thyroid imbalances
- Certain infections
- Alcohol misuse
Avoid Complications with Early Intervention
Avoiding the doctor not only increases the amount of time a senior lives needlessly with memory loss, it also increases the likelihood that it will negatively impact the senior’s life. Falling, getting lost, missing out on activities, or running into safety hazards around the home (such as forgetting to turn off the stove) may be able to be avoided by treating the condition early.
Knowing the Truth is a Relief
Even when the symptoms aren’t reversible, many people who have been through it reflect that, looking back, getting a diagnosis was an important, and ultimately positive step in their life. In the words of Norman McNamara, who was diagnosed with dementia at age 50:
“An early diagnosis of dementia is so, so important. Once diagnosed, I knew what I was up against. As they say: know your enemy. If I hadn’t been diagnosed early and I hadn’t been seen by consultants on a regular basis, I wouldn’t be as well as I am today. I don’t know what my future holds, but at least I’m prepared for it.”
The science agrees with Mr. McNamara and the many others who share his point of view. There is compelling evidence that people with dementia who are diagnosed early are able to live independently in their home for a much longer period of time, and with a higher overall quality of life, than those who continue on undiagnosed.
Home Care Offers Support for Seniors with Memory Concerns
Home care can be a very helpful source of support for seniors with memory challenges, enabling them to thrive in their own homes. Home care services are customizable and can be tailored for just the amount of help needed. For example, a senior may initially need just occasional transportation assistance to appointments, but over time, may grow to benefit from additional support.
Grocery shopping, meal preparation, light housekeeping, pet care, personal care – the list of possible services is long and can be customized exactly to each senior’s liking. By slowly increasing home care support as needed, the senior with dementia can feel comfortable with caregivers who understand their routines and preferences, and who already share a trusting relationship. This goes an incredibly long way towards success for a senior with memory challenges.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Home Care in Glendale, AZ, please contact the caring staff at Blessings for Seniors Companion Care at (623) 594-0819
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