Is your parent hiding dementia symptoms?
Recognizing the symptoms and effects of a disease like dementia can be difficult. When the symptoms begin your loved one may try to avoid a diagnosis, which results in a delay in proper treatment and can lead to very dangerous risks to your loved one’s health and safety. Unfortunately, it is not unusual for a parent to hide dementia symptoms. If you see signs your loved one’s memory is slipping, there are many detection tools and tips that will help you alert you to encourage your loved one to seek a proper diagnosis and care for their symptoms.
The first question you must ask is, “How do you recognize the signs your parent might be hiding dementia symptoms?” Below are some helpful tips to help detect if your parent is hiding early stages of dementia:
Are they refusing to participate in activities they once enjoyed?
If your parent is repeatedly refusing to participate in activities that they used to love such as board and card games, outside sports, and other common past times, this could be an indicator that they are struggling with their memory and beginning to forget how to play these games or other information needed for an activity. Observe their responses and ask why they are choosing to opt out or avoid any effort to engage.
Hiding their struggle with basic tasks
Often times seniors who struggle with memory loss or related diseases will struggle with daily tasks like driving or communicating with those around them, including family, friends, and neighbors. It is common to see a spouse or other loved one try to disguise this by completing their sentences, cutting them off in conversations they are struggling with or helping them with tasks they can no longer do themselves.
Is your parent acting secretive?
Your parent may be afraid to admit their memory is failing because they are afraid they will lose their sense of independence. They would rather lie and become extremely secretive to try to cover up their symptoms.
Are they in denial?
One of the most common symptoms is blatant denial of any real memory issues. Your parent may blame their issues on their age and try to assure you that it is just a normal part of aging. They may also claim they didn’t hear the question. In cases of denial, it can be challenging, but it is important to recognize these behaviors and push your parent to seek professional help when necessary.
Does your parent have Agnosia?
Agnosia is a sheer lack of awareness of any memory impairment and it affects more than 80% of those with Alzheimer’s. It may appear similar to denial, but Agnosia is caused by anatomical changes or damage to the part of the brain that affects perception of one’s own illness. It can be especially hard to detect and requires a physician to diagnose.
When you suspect your loved one is hiding their dementia symptoms, it is important to suppress your anger. This is common and often unintentional.
If your parent is displaying any of the symptoms discussed, it may be time to make an appointment with their primary care physician to request a full assessment. For more information about dementia and other age- related health topics visit our blog and website.
At Paradise Living Centers, our Care Manager is a certified dementia practitioner and an invaluable resource to our residents and their families.