It might not be dementia.
If it looks like dementia, and talks like dementia it might not be dementia.
For most of my life, I never understood why certain specialists were in such high demand at parties. “Oh, your cousin is a dermatologist? I want to ask them about this mole.” Well, now that I am a dementia expert, friends, family, and strangers have questions about dementia, which I am happy to answer, are approaching me more.
As I sit in the airport, writing this article, my Laptop sits open with a “TROVATO DEMENTIA SERVICES” sticker plastered across the screen. I know I may be approached and I welcome it. Today, I am going to address one of the most common conversations I have. I like to call that conversation the “It looks like dementia, it talks like dementia, but is it dementia?” This usually begins by listing various symptoms including (but not limited to):
- Confusion about time, date, place
- Hearing or seeing things that aren’t there (hallucinations)
- Accusing people of “messing with them” (paranoia or delusions)
- Poor hygiene
- Unusual panic
- Repeating stories
- Forgetting events
- Acting out dreams
- Forgetting words
- More dings on the car than before
Just to name a few. The next part of the conversation typically includes conversations about what it could be. At this point, I am still listening.
- “She could be getting dementia”
- “It could be just a touch of dementia”
- “She will probably snap out of it.”
- “But I was wondering… do you think it is dementia.”
Now, it is my turn to talk. I know that it is scary to see changes in someone you care about and not know what is going on or what the next step is. I like to explain to people that while it could be dementia and the symptoms sound very similar to dementia, it may not be dementia. I always suggest they visit their doctor. These symptoms can be caused by a number of REVERSIBLE syndromes that can be reversed, including (but not limited to):
- Vitamin Deficiency
- Mold in the home
- A urinary tract infection
- A dental infection
- Any other infections
- Sleep irregularities
By this time, the person usually feels some relief but I know they’re still thinking “But what if….?” Remember, if it is dementia their doctor can diagnose them and there are a lot of options and resources for a person with dementia. They can continue to live in their home with family help or professional help, they may want to move into an Assisted Living community, group home, etc. There are so many options and many professionals who can help.
Dementia doesn’t have to be seen as a “death sentence.” A person with dementia can continue to live a fulfilling life, especially when diagnosed early. So, if you notice something is off, take the person to the doctor for their annual check up and inform the doctor that you have noticed some changes. Still not sure how to approach this conversation? Let Trovato, LLC help. Info@TrovatoLLC.com 571-377-8454