According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 700,000 Canadians are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia. If you notice symptoms suggesting your aging loved one may be one of them, you might assume you’re seeing early signs of dementia. However, there are some causes of dementia-like symptoms that are reversible. Below you’ll find six possibilities.
1. Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH)
Commonly referred to as “water on the brain,” NPH is the accumulation of extra fluid that gets trapped in the brain. Normally, this fluid travels to the connected spinal cord. Early diagnosis and treatment of NPH may reverse symptoms that could include:
• Memory loss and/or confusion
• Urinary incontinence
• Walking and balance issues
If your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, help is available. Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Edmonton 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.
2. Thyroid Problems
Worrisome symptoms that may include difficulty concentrating, memory loss, reduced visual processing, and difficulty with spatial organization may be related to a thyroid problem. With proper treatment of either an overactive or underactive thyroid, these symptoms can be fully reversed.
3. Vitamin B12 Deficiencies
Seniors who aren’t getting enough B12 may develop symptoms characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. Those with conditions such as Crohn’s disease or pernicious anemia may also have difficulty with B12 absorption. Cognitive functioning is likely to increase with the use of B12 supplements or a diet that includes green leafy veggies and other reliable sources of important B vitamins.
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 elder care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
4. Sleep Deprivation
A chronic lack of sufficient sleep can affect the ability to reason, think, and recall information while also contributing to overall cognitive decline. Fortunately, if this is the reason for your loved one’s symptoms, steps can usually be taken to enhance sleep habits and cognitive capabilities. Such efforts may involve:
• Minimizing daytime napping
• Limiting fluids before bedtime to avoid bathroom disruptions at night
• Taking a bath just before bed to increase relaxation
• Going to sleep at a set time to allow the body to develop a natural sleep schedule
• Using deep breathing techniques to promote relaxation prior to bedtime
5. Medication Side Effects or Interactions
Certain medications can have unintended side effects, such as memory issues and other cognitive difficulties. It’s also not uncommon for older adults to take multiple medications to manage various health-related issues. In some cases, there could be an interaction that causes confusion or memory issues. If you suspect medication issues are responsible for your loved one’s dementia-like symptoms, ask the doctor to do a full medication review. Provide a complete list of all medications being taken, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements.
When depression symptoms mimic dementia-like symptoms, it’s referred to as pseudo-dementia. Chronic depression in older adults can contribute to a lack of concentration, disinterest in previously enjoyable activities, forgetfulness, and the inability to pay attention. Cognitive screening tests can determine if your loved one is in the early stages of dementia or having issues with depression. If it’s the latter, he or she may benefit from appropriate mental health treatment.
A highly trained caregiver with experience in caring for seniors with dementia can be a fantastic resource for family members. Families looking for top-rated Edmonton senior care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones. Reach out to us at Home Care Assistance if you need compassionate, professional dementia care for your loved one. Call one of our dedicated Care Managers today at (780) 977-7379 to learn about the high quality of our in-home care services.