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Wondering if a parent has dementia after a holiday visit

Post Holiday Concern: Is Mom or Dad Developing Dementia?

While the holidays are a time to enjoy special moments with family and friends, we hear from many adult children who, instead of returning with fond memories, return filled with worry about cognitive and behavioral changes they’ve observed in a parent.

Those changes may include one or more of the following:

  1. Less interactive, showing difficulty following conversation.
  2. Repeatedly forgetting what they were going to say.
  3. Not appearing as well-groomed as usual.
  4. Increased irritability, especially when challenged in any way.
  5. Frequently misplacing their personal items, often in unusual places.

Is it just normal aging or early stages of dementia?

That, of course, is the question on so many family members’ minds. And it is a question that is not easily answered without doing some of your own groundwork and, of course, having a consultation with your loved one and his or her health provider.

The first step is to take a deep breath and begin to organize your thoughts and your actions.

The good news is that there are available tools to help clarify your observations.

One set of tools is available from Anthem Memory Care, courtesy of Roobrik. Here are a few of the tools. Each will ask you some questions about your observations and provide insights to help you decide next steps. Note that these are not diagnostic tools but can provide information that can help clarify your thoughts and serve as a reference when meeting with healthcare professionals.

Another useful tool is the Dementia Behavioral Assessment (DBAT) checklist, which you can access here.

Also be sure to check out our Resources page for more insights and information.

This is a challenging journey. But one you needn’t take alone.

As you begin to take steps to understand the changes you are witnessing in your aging parent, it is important to include in that process those who are close to you. Family members and trusted friends can provide additional insights to help keep you focused and as objective as possible.

It is also important to know that you can reach out to any of our Anthem Memory Care communities with your concerns. So many members of the Anthem team have experienced dementia within their own families. We are here to answer questions, provide a sympathetic ear, and provide useful resources to help you meet the challenges ahead.