This is something we are dealing with first hand. An elder has early stage dementia. The first sign was forgetting that she received an invitation. Her feelings are still hurt, because she doesn’t remember that she received it.
It progressed slowly. Other signs occurred. She forgot about events. She forgot answers given over the phone. Sometimes there would be several calls a day asking the same question. Then she made a financial move that was out of character.
These were all signs of dementia. However, doctors are very careful about this diagnosis. Once rendered, it changes everything for everybody involved. A CT scan was ordered, and it showed age related atrophy.
Once this occurred, it was necessary for someone to personally observe her over a period of days. She lives alone, so it was up to us. More than one of the family reported things she’d forgotten. She forgot how to get to places she’d been to frequently before. She forgot that she’d been there recently.
These are all signs of dementia, and they were reported over the course of that week. By week’s end, it was confirmed. Along with that confirmation has been the aforementioned changes.
Thankfully, it was caught before she got into a car accident. Three doctors have ordered that she hang up the car keys. Believe me, she knows who has them. She can’t remember the doctors telling her…in person…that she can’t drive. Therefore, I’m the bad guy…I took her keys. I have to explain it to her on a regular basis.
It is extremely important that any signs of dementia be followed carefully. Many things could happen if that doesn’t happen. Vital medications may be skipped. The person with dementia could get lost, either walking or driving. Worst of all, the elder could get into a car accident, potentially killing someone.
Knowing these signs and talking to the doctor before something bad happens is in everyone’s best interest. I can guarantee you it won’t feel good, but feeling bad about taking away the keys is far less painful than knowing it should have been done before the accident.