According to a recent University of Michigan study, more than half of the individuals screened for dementia for the study hadn’t been previously evaluated for the condition. This was the case even for participants already displaying signs of cognitive decline. The findings suggest dementia often goes unscreened and untreated. Today, we’re going to discuss five things that could happen if your senior loved one has dementia that’s not treated.
1. Reduced Quality of Life
If dementia is untreated or not officially diagnosed, your loved one may have noticeable issues with his or her daily quality of life. Potential issues could involve:
• An inability to complete tasks
• An increased risk of falling if coordination is affected, which is more common with vascular dementia
• Eating and sleep patterns affected to the point where health issues develop
Mitigation for family caregivers involves being observant. Look for signs your loved one’s quality of life isn’t what it used to be and encourage him or her to talk to a doctor.
2. Worsening Cognitive Decline
Some forms of dementia are reversible if detected and treated early. For instance, one type of dementia is related to a vitamin B12 deficiency. Even with Alzheimer’s, a common form of dementia that’s not curable, a lack of active treatment could contribute to more advanced cognitive decline. In the early stages of dementia, symptoms are often dismissed as being a “normal” part of aging. Remind your loved one that some forms of dementia are treatable or manageable as you encourage him or her to get evaluated.
If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elderly home care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
3. Increased Social Isolation
Dementia is sometimes untreated in seniors because they purposely make an effort to hide symptoms out of fear or a lack of understanding about what may be causing them. If this is the case, they may make excuses to avoid interactions with family members and friends. Doing so could contribute to increased social isolation, depression, and anxiety. Look for opportunities to start a discussion with your loved one if you’re noticing social withdrawal. If you suspect dementia may be an issue, offer reassurance while encouraging your loved one to find out for sure what’s going on.
4. Less Effective Symptom Management
There’s research suggesting early treatment involving a combination of medication and various therapies may slow the progression of symptoms in those with dementia. Because what’s lost may not be recoverable at some point, a delay in this approach to treatment could make it difficult to manage symptoms later. Pay attention to increased requests for assistance that may not be entirely age-related. Express your concerns and encourage a visit to the doctor.
Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Fort Myers seniors can benefit greatly from the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program designed to promote cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. CTM is included at no additional charge with any of the in-home care plans provided by Home Care Assistance.
5. A Loss of Independence
Untreated dementia can result in false assumptions that could lead to your loved one losing his or her cherished independence. For instance, if your loved one assumes his or her cognitive decline is related to aging, he or she may think the only option is nursing home care when he or she begins to need more assistance with daily tasks. Remind your loved one that behavioral changes and other symptoms associated with dementia aren’t normal. Also, let your loved one know that even if he or she does have dementia, he or she can still retain independence with proper supervision and assistance that could involve in-home care.
There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional senior care. Fort Myers families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call (239) 449-4701 today.