Early signs of dementia

Q: Our mother is aging and seems to be doing relatively well but at times she has been disoriented. We do not want to overreact, but we want to be there for her when she needs help. Her doctor said he can initiate early intervention. But what are the criteria?

How do we know when or if Mom is beginning to slide?

A: I appreciate how you are trying to honour your mother’s right to maintain her responsibilities for her own well-being while still being concerned about her.

Sometimes families take over their parents’ lives and try to decide for them what is best. The results can be painful.

We know dementia has a way of sneaking up on people. They are caught in it before they are fully aware of what is happening.

Once they are victim to dementia, they are embarrassed and often try to hide their struggles from family members who care about them.

The question is about when it is appropriate to step in and get some assistance for struggling parents.

I am not sure there is an easy answer but some research offers clues about when you should consider getting more involved with your aging parent.

The research is focusing on three simple tasks: taking medication, making phone calls and making or retrieving coffee.

These are simple tasks that anyone can do, but if a person is struggling to remember how to do them, that is cause for concern and a referral to the doctor for further advice and support.

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