We’re all facing new challenges in lockdown, and one of them is how to help our senior loved ones. We can’t see them as much as we want, even as lockdowns get lifted since they’re still in high-risk groups for succumbing to the virus. Unfortunately, that means we might not have the kind of contact we did before the virus – and may have a harder time noticing the signs of decline and dementia. While there isn’t much that can be done to treat dementia, identifying it early can help your loved one maintain a good quality of life. So how can you keep a lookout for the early signs of dementia while being away from your senior loved ones?
Video calls are a good way to keep in touch, if possible, but even a simple phone call on a regular basis can give you insight into how your loved one is doing. You can ask certain questions to get a gauge: have they been cooking their own meals? If so, do they remember the recipe or how long they should cook the food? Do they remember what time and what channel their favorite TV show is on? Forgetting these seemingly simple details is a warning sign of possible cognitive decline.
You can also set a regular time when you call or video chat and leave it to your loved one to reach out to you. Consistently forgetting to call you or not remembering what time they’re supposed to call shows that your loved one is becoming disoriented to time. If you notice this happening, try to dig a little deeper to find out if they’re missing any other longstanding appointments simply because they forget when they’re scheduled.
Related article: How to Plan for a Loved One Who Has Autism
The most obvious warning sign should be noticeable whether you’re speaking with your loved one in person or over the phone. Essentially, you’ll want to start keeping track of any instances where they mention misplacing car keys, a purse, or other important items. Repeatedly misplacing items is a serious warning sign and is usually noticeable early on. You may also notice that they do not remember details about people or events while having conversations, so they are unable to participate in the conversation like they used to. Seniors with early-stage dementia often mask this through humor or anger, so if you are noticing this, you may want to dig a little deeper.
If you have a loved one who you believe is in the early stages of dementia, please contact our law firm for a consultation with an Orange County elder lawyer so we can help your family plan for the future and secure any necessary care.
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Kevin Snyder is a husband, father, and an Orange County estate planning attorney and elder law attorney at Snyder Law, PC in Irvine, California. He’s all about family and passionate about estate planning, elder law, and veterans. He founded Snyder Law to help people be prepared and have the peace of mind they are protecting their families and aging parents for when life happens.