Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Danger Of Your Aging Parent Covering Up Dementia

Here is a great dementia resource for caregivers and healthcare professinals,

Here is information on being the best caregiver you can be

Here is a way for nurses administrators, social workers and other health care professionals to get an easyceu or two

Carolyn Rosenblatt

The signs are subtle at first. The brain-destroying disease that creeps up unannounced and steals your loved one comes in disguise. “Maybe he’s just getting old”, you tell yourself.

Your aging parent may have noticed being unable to remember things for some time. Dad will compensate by changing the subject, or finding some other words to replace the ones he can’t find. But he might just stop in the middle of a sentence. He works at covering up the problem.

Mom will insist she’s fine. She knows she isn’t but doesn’t want you to find out. She’ll do anything to keep her memory loss a secret. She fears you’ll put her in a home. To her, that’s a death sentence.

No one has yet developed a simple test for Alzheimer’s or other dementias. Brain scans and MRI’s don’t tell us exactly who has Alzheimer’s and who doesn’t. They only give some clues. Neurologists and primary care physicians make educated guesses. Your aging parent can fool others for a while before the symptoms are unmistakable.

Here’s what’s important: it doesn’t matter if you have a diagnosis for your aging parent or not. It matters how your aging parent functions. It matters how you deal with what you see.

If your aging parent or loved one is showing persistent memory loss and starting to mess up the basics of life, it’s a warning you should not ignore. It’s more than a “senior moment”.

Here’s an example. A friend, Jaclyn, asked me for some information about her father, age 86. Aging is my field and advising is what I do for a living.

Jaclyn’s dad is a brainy guy, a mathematician in his pre-retirement years. She’s noticing changes, which her mom is covering up. He can’t keep track of their finances any longer. Jaclyn knows this isn’t the Dad she’s used to.

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