Dementia in older people is often a symptom of a serious disease like Alzheimer’s, but it isn’t always. In some cases, it’s a symptom of something that’s not nearly as serious and may even be treatable. In these situations, the dementia itself may also be reversible. If your senior loved one is experiencing dementia or dementia-like symptoms, talk to his or her doctor about ruling out one of the following reversible causes.
1. Urinary Tract Infections
When people are younger and develop a urinary tract infection (UTI), they may experience symptoms such as frequent urination, burning during urination, lower back pain, fever, chills, dark or cloudy urine, and pressure in the abdomen. Seniors, especially women, may or may not experience these symptoms in addition to agitation, lethargy, confusion, and other problems that mimic dementia. Seniors who have a history of UTIs, use catheters, have had kidney stones, have experienced menopause, have an enlarged prostate, have a prolapsed bladder, or experience incontinence are at a greater risk for developing UTIs.
2. Nutritional Deficiencies
Sometimes what you think is dementia could have something to with your loved one’s diet. Seniors are at a greater risk for poor nutrition, which means they may be lacking important vitamins and minerals in their systems. This is especially true for seniors who don’t get enough vitamin B12. The results often mimic Alzheimer’s with symptoms like memory loss and agitation. Even if your loved one is eating enough B12, his or her body may not be absorbing it correctly. Luckily, this is often cleared up with vitamins and supplements.
Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Bethlehem 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.
3. Drug or Alcohol Use
Drug and alcohol abuse can change anyone’s mental state, but for seniors, it can lead to a type of dementia, especially if the person has been abusing the substance for many years. Treating it early is the key to reversing it. However, abuse isn’t the only way drugs can lead to reversible dementia. In some cases, reactions to prescription or over-the-counter medications can lead to symptoms that mimic dementia. In this case, you may need to talk to your loved one’s doctor about changing the dosages or finding an alternative medication.
4. Sleep Disorders
Many seniors have difficulty sleeping at night, and over time, chronic insomnia or lack of high-quality sleep can lead to memory loss and a decrease in other cognitive abilities, and it can potentially cause permanent changes to the brain. If your loved one isn’t sleeping well, it’s best to get to the root of the problem before he or she develops long-term issues. Perhaps your loved one doesn’t have a comfortable environment to sleep in or is napping too much during the day. Your loved one might also be drinking too much caffeine or living with an emotional health issue such as depression.
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 homecare families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
5. Thyroid Disorders
The thyroid is a powerful gland that produces hormones and regulates metabolism. When it’s not working correctly, it can cause a variety of symptoms that resemble dementia, including confusion, memory loss, and difficulty speaking. Luckily, most thyroid disorders are easily treated with medication that can prevent and reverse the symptoms.
Highly trained caregivers with experience in caring for seniors with dementia can be a fantastic resource for family members. Families looking for top-rated Bethlehem elderly home 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. If you need compassionate, professional care for your loved one, call one of our friendly Care Managers today at 484-350-3874.