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Most of us think “senility” is a normal part of ageing, but it’s not. Here we outline the signs and symptoms of dementia and what options are available for dementia care.

Previously, experts believed dementia was a part of ageing. A more recent article from the University of Queensland said mild cases of cognitive impairment do not necessarily lead to dementia. The University’s Ageing Mind Initiative also revealed that many retired people are still living normal lives.

It can be quite difficult to determine if a person has already been afflicted by dementia or normal cognitive changes. The following are some of the different signs and symptoms of dementia:

Signs and symptoms of dementia

Since it can affect a person’s memory, learning and communication skills, here are some of the things to be aware of:

Memory loss

This is one of dementia’s most common symptoms where a person may keep asking the same questions repeatedly or repeating themselves. He or she also tends to forget things and events more often.

Loss of interest

Everyone gets tired of their work, personal or social obligations at times. However, people with dementia tend to withdraw from these things more than normal. They may exhibit a passive behaviour about activities outside of the home.

Communication problems

Finding the right words to say can be challenging at times. However, for someone with dementia, he or she may forget commonly used words and substitute them with inappropriate ones.

Frequently misplacing things

People do misplace things but losing them frequently is another thing. A person with dementia will do this often and may even accuse people of stealing.

Sudden changes in mood and personality

Some dementia sufferers may become anxious, suspicious, withdrawn or irritable at times. They can get unreasonably upset, especially when their routine is disrupted.

When any of these symptoms habitually appear it’s best to seek medical help immediately. A physician can make the proper assessments and recommendations for the patient.

Coping and dealing with dementia

Dealing with a condition like dementia can be life-changing. Instead of accepting defeat, here are strategies to help cope:

  • Get enough night’s rest
  • Regularly visit your physician
  • Get some exercise and eat a healthy diet
  • Have a good support system
  • Plan all important decisions as early as possible to avoid confusion later on
  • Learn and research more about dementia to keep abreast with the latest developments

Always remain vigilant and keep your health in check. Remember to consult a health professional before assuming anything about your health. For family members living with loved ones with dementia, taking a dementia friendly approach can help develop an understanding of how to help them.

Dementia care options

While some people with dementia may still be able to stay living safely at home with family or home care support, others may require 24 hour care within an aged care community or residential aged care facility.

If aged care is becoming an option for you or your loved one, it’s worth knowing that you still have choices in the type of accommodation and care you receive.

When many people think of dementia care, they think of locked wards but that doesn’t have to be the case. There are options to remain living in a home-style environment with dementia day programs available to keep people living with dementia happy and engaged.

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Belinda Peters
Belinda brings more than 17 years experience in journalism to her role as Seasons Digital Content Writer. As our blog editor, Belinda will take the confusion out of aged care with entertaining and informative stories from across the aged care industry and our Seasons communities.