Fear Can Cause Seniors to Hide Symptoms of Alzheimer's

December 30th, 2017 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized

Seniors sometimes worry that Alzheimer’s disease might be causing the challenges and changes they or their spouse are experiencing. Almost every older adult knows someone with this diagnosis. 

Many seniors fear that if they share these concerns with adult children or a physician, they will be forced to make changes they aren’t ready to make. As a result, they may go to great lengths to hide what they believe are the symptoms of the disease. 

Recognizing the Signs a Senior Might be Struggling with Mental Health Changes

1. Covering up or talking over their partner
If one spouse is trying to cover for another’s mental health changes, they may begin speaking for the partner who is struggling. It might start with finishing sentences or reminding them of a name. Older couples often do that for one another, but it becomes more aggressive if they suspect dementia. 

2. Making excuses to cover forgetfulness
Seniors who recognize they are becoming more than a little forgetful will try to cover up for their declining memory. They might make excuses such as they’re having a “senior moment” or they’re confused because they “didn’t sleep well” the night before. While an occasional lapse in memory happens to all of us, if a pattern seems to be developing, it might be a sign something isn’t right.

3. Withdrawal from hobbies and interests
When an older adult knows something is wrong and wants to keep others from realizing it too, they might stick closer to home. It isn’t uncommon for them to withdraw from favorite pastimes and hobbies. The same holds true if they are fearful for a spouse. So if you notice your parent(s)’ social life has dwindled, it may be time to ask a few questions about why.

4. “Everything is fine"
Dementia can impact everyday life in a variety of ways. It can make it more difficult to manage tasks such as meal planning, grocery shopping, paying bills, and managing the checkbook. Household chores can also go completely overlooked. Assisted living communities often receive worried phone calls from adult children home for the holidays. Their  loved one has been telling them “everything is fine” and they “don’t need anything.” Then, the holiday visit suggests otherwise.

5. Getting lost while driving

Difficulty driving is an early sign of Alzheimer’s. Sometimes the senior will be driving along just fine, then suddenly forget where they are going. Other times, they will get lost on a road they’ve driven for years. This is because location awareness relies on short-term memory, which is usually impacted early with Alzheimer’s.

Memory Care at Sunrise Senior Living

If you suspect an older adult in your life may be struggling with early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, you might need help figuring out the best way to talk with them. We created Having the Important Conversations to support you in those efforts. This resource covers everything from showing empathy to understanding senior living lingo.

Source: Sunrise Senior Living

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