How to Encourage Your Loved One with Signs of Dementia to Seek Help

The dilemma associated with potential signs of dementia is something that so many families face. When a loved one appears to display abnormal symptoms, especially those associated with dementia, the entire situation can become very distressing.

Fear sets in as many seniors become susceptible to serious complications, including a potential car crash, a fall, or even falling victim to a financial scam. That is because dementia is associated with more than memory loss. Cognitive decline impacts a range of executive functions, impacting everything from problem-solving to judgment.

How and When to Intervene

Here at BrainTest®, we developed an app that provides clearer insight into one’s level of cognitive thinking. By identifying potential early warning signs, this assessment tool provides users with greater insight. By obtaining baseline results, changes can then be tracked and discussed with a doctor across time.

Although this test is highly recommended for anyone who is currently concerned about their cognitive health, if you are already convinced that something is abnormal, it is imperative that you seek a professional opinion. When it comes to Alzheimer’s, for instance, early intervention can have a positive impact on one’s treatment plan.

For those wondering how and when to intervene, if you already feel as though a future crisis is possible, it is time to act. The goal is to reach a diagnosis before any serious issues arise. After all, safety is a clear threshold for making sound decisions. If you believe that your loved one’s safety is at risk (or they may place someone else at risk), it is time to intervene.

Since symptoms are often fairly mild at first, many patients and their loved one’s face a stage of denial. Although it is challenging to come to terms with such a possibility, the last thing you want to do is make excuses. Do not push your loved one’s symptoms into the back of your mind. Proactive action is imperative.

Seeking a Doctor’s Opinion

Of course, not all concerns result in an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. For some, cognitive decline is due to a condition that is not only treatable, but reversible. From depression to thyroid issues, vitamin deficiencies to a reaction to certain medications, there are many possibilities.

However, for those who are living with the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s, early detection can help the individual maintain independence for a longer period of time. Also, planning during the early stages is much more successful, especially in relation to all legal and financial matters.

Tips to ensure that your loved one gets the medical attention they need:

Image via the U.S. Department of Defense

In many cases, those experiencing symptoms of Alzheimer’s simply refuse to see a doctor. Once again, they may be in denial and think that there is nothing wrong with them. Others are fearful and do not want to verify their concerns. If you can relate to this scenario, there are a few options:

  • When symptoms are mild, you may be able to reason with your loved one. Be persistent without being confrontational. If they will not listen to you, speak with a close friend or relative. They may be more prone to listen if numerous loved one’s express their concerns based on key situations that have already occurred.

  • Suggest a check-up if your loved one has expressed any concern about not remembering things lately. You can explain to them that there are potential treatment options that can assist them. However, they must be prescribed by their doctor. You can also ask them to see their doctor as a personal favor to you, helping you achieve greater peace-of-mind.

  • If your loved is showcasing more advanced symptoms, you can prearrange an appointment with your doctor. Ask your loved one if they would like to come with you (the doctor will understand the reason for your visit at this time). If your loved one has another condition, such as arthritis, you could also make an appointment based on their preexisting condition. Let the doctor know that you are concerned with their neurological health as well.

The idea is to be compassionate but firm. Safety should become your number one priority, so that you can prevent an accident before it occurs. 

To better assist you, please refer to the first articles within our three-part series:

Krista has a B.A.Sc degree, specializing in psychology and neuroscience. She is actively involved in the mental health and caregiving community, aiming to help others. Krista is also passionate about nutrition and the ways in which lifestyle choices affect and influence the human brain.

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