When older adults begin exhibiting signs of cognitive impairment, they and their families may fear a diagnosis of dementia. However, there are numerous reasons a senior’s cognitive function can go awry, and many of the causes are reversible. If your senior parent is experiencing unusual symptoms, a thorough evaluation by a physician can determine the underlying cause.
When depressed, seniors may lack motivation, have difficulty concentrating, and feel unusually tired. They may not get sufficient sleep or eat healthy, which compounds the problem. As such, seniors with depression may seem confused, experience memory loss, or exhibit other symptoms that resemble dementia. An assessment and interview performed by a healthcare provider can determine the difference. Your loved one may then be directed to get counseling or take prescription medications.
Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. New Hampshire 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.
An infection in a senior doesn’t always cause the same symptoms often experienced by someone much younger. Seniors with infections might not have elevated fevers, but they may experience cognitive impairment. A chronic respiratory infection prevents adequate oxygenated and nutrient-rich blood from traveling to the brain. As a result, the neurons may experience malnutrition and fail to function properly. An older adult living with a urinary tract infection often becomes confused. A thorough physical can reveal the problem, which reverses when the senior receives proper treatment.
3. Malfunctioning Thyroid
The thyroid gland is responsible for many bodily functions. When the gland isn’t properly stimulated or lacks the ability to produce and release the thyroid hormone, seniors may exhibit strange symptoms, such as memory loss, visual disturbances, or mood changes. Thyroid problems aren’t uncommon in the elderly. However, with proper treatment, the symptoms subside.
Caring for a loved one with dementia can be challenging, but compassionate help is available. 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 senior home care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
4. Medication Interactions or Side Effects
Many older people take multiple prescriptions for chronic health issues. Some might also add herbal formulas to their regimens. However, if your loved one doesn’t take the medication as directed or combines certain medications with specific foods or herbal supplements, he or she may experience adverse effects or interactions. The side effects may manifest as cognitive deficits. Healthcare providers must know all the over-the-counter and prescription medications your loved one takes to determine a potential problem.
5. Vitamin B1 Deficiency
Some seniors have thiamine deficiencies. Although the condition is usually associated with chronic alcohol abuse, the deficit may appear for other reasons. Insufficient levels of the nutrient cause swelling in the brain known as Wernicke encephalopathy. Symptoms of the disorder include confusion, visual disturbances, abnormal eye movements, and a loss of physical coordination. Once the deficit is identified, seniors have a good chance of experiencing symptomatic relief.
6. Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Seniors who don’t have healthy diets often have gastrointestinal issues and may develop vitamin B12 deficiencies. Symptoms of the condition include behavioral changes, irritability, and memory loss. Supplementation with the nutrient provides relief and returns cognitive function.
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 New Hampshire elder 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. Contact one of our experienced Care Managers today at (603) 471-3004 to learn more about our reliable in-home dementia care services.