Grumpy Old Men OR Suffering From Early Onset Dementia? How One Disguises Another
You find your grandpa standing in the kitchen, staring blankly at the fridge. You ask him if he is alright and he begins shouting at you that he is fine, and to leave him alone. He slams the fridge door and stomps out of the kitchen, then claims not to know what you’re talking about when you bring it up later.
Grandma has been reluctant to let you visit, and when you finally do without her permission you find the house in a filthy state that is very unlike her. When you tell her you are worried she screams at you to get out of her house, and says she never wants to see you again.
What is going on?
Severe personality changes could be one of many symptoms of Early Onset Dementia. It is a condition that can begin much earlier than you would think, and is separate to the development of Alzheimer’s. As many as half a million Americans under the age of 65 could be suffering from this condition.
The Symptoms Of Dementia
You have probably seen dementia depicted in media before. You have seen characters acting confused, forgetting who loved ones are, or thinking the wrong president is in office. But the symptoms can actually be much more subtle than that, particularly in the early stages.
Dementia has a serious impact on the brain. Some common symptoms for early onset dementia include:
- Forgetting things on a daily basis, such as losing keys, appointments, dates, and information recently learned.
- Having difficulty doing regular tasks, such as paying bills, following recipes, or following shopping lists.
- Becoming confused about where they are, what time it is, or what the date is.
- Losing track of time.
- Not remembering dates that they have remembered in the past, particularly important dates like anniversaries and birthdays.
- Problems holding a conversation, often stopping in the middle of a sentence, or forgetting what they were saying.
- Sudden personality changes, such as becoming angry, irritable and defensive when these symptoms are pointed out.
They may also use anger to hide that they are frightened by their inability to think as clearly as they once did. This can make it difficult to catch some of the other symptoms right away.
What Can Be Done?
The first step is identifying a potential problem, and having your loved one seen by a doctor. Early onset dementia progress can potentially be slowed, and some issues even reversed. But it is an ongoing process, and one that has to be caught right away.
Some other ways to potentially help your loved one is by leaving them notes, reminding them (gently) of things they have forgotten, and taking over the tasks they are finding difficult (paying bills, planning shopping lists, ect).
In more severe cases, an assisted living or care facility may be your best option.
Find out more about how you can help your loved one at Ashford Living.