Clients will sometimes contact us to discuss their fears that a parent or other loved one is showing signs of dementia and may not be able to make important legal or financial decisions. There are ways the law can help protect this person’s assets in the event of dementia and other mental impairments.
While there is no cure for dementia, there are certain treatments that can slow the effects and help make life easier for the afflicted and their caregivers. However, dementia must be caught early, which is why it’s important to recognize the most common warning signs listed below.
Personality Changes and Mood Swings
Dementia can often make seniors depressed and cause mood swings. Because dementia is a cognitive impairment that affects the ability to make good judgments, it can cause those suffering from it to act out of character. Monitoring for personality changes and uncommon mood swings is important.
Many seniors with dementia suffer from confusion, which often leads to agitation. An early warning sign of dementia is constant repetition, as seniors afflicted by dementia often repeat things they’ve said just minutes after they’ve already said them. You may also want to be on the lookout for items being put in strange places, like car keys or a purse put in the refrigerator or the oven. In addition, you may want to test whether the senior has difficulty following task-based directions, such as cooking from a well-known recipe.
If a senior seems to get lost more and more often while driving, this could be a big warning sign that they may have dementia – and that access to the car may need to be taken away. Key warning signs include getting confused and lost while driving in familiar areas, as well as not recognizing familiar landmarks or knowing where those landmarks are located.
The most common and well-known warning sign of dementia, and the most devastating for families, is memory loss. Short-term memory loss is typical of early-stage dementia. Failing to recognize family members like a spouse, children, or grandchildren typically occurs in later stage dementia, though you should still be concerned if the senior has trouble recalling names or calls family members by other names.
If one of your senior family members is suffering from dementia, or if you have noticed one or more of these warning signs in a senior family member, please contact our Ohio estate and elder law attorneys at 877-653-3450 to schedule a complimentary initial consultation.