Dementia: Early Signs

By Dara Kushnir

You may find it difficult determining whether you or someone you know is experiencing typical age-related changes or early symptoms of dementia. Dementia affects a person’s language and reasoning abilities, communication, and focus. Remembering where you last left your keys or forgetting an appointment once in a while does happen and does not necessarily mean you have dementia.

Being aware of early signs of dementia can help you figure out if you would need to schedule an appointment with a neurologist for further testing. A person may experience:

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. Individuals with dementia may be able to remember an event twenty years ago, but have trouble remembering what they did earlier in the day or important dates. They repeatedly ask for the same information and begin to rely on electronic devices or family members for reminders. While those who are going through typical age-changes do forget things, they are later able to remember them or retrace their steps.
  2. Difficulty completing familiar tasks. As individuals with dementia get older, they occasionally need help with tasks such as working a microwave. Those with dementia often have difficulty with daily tasks such as driving to a familiar place or remembering how to do a favorite craft.
  3. Confusion with time and place. Individuals with dementia may not recognize landmarks or places that were familiar. Individuals in the later stages of dementia can understand what is happening currently, but not tomorrow or yesterday. Individuals with early stages of dementia may have difficulty remembering what day, date, or even year it is.
  4. Poor judgement. Everyone makes a bad decision once in a while. Those with dementia can experience changes in decision-making, which can lead to bad financial decisions such as spending an excessive amount of money on clothing or food. They may also pay less attention to hygiene.
  5. Changes in mood and personality. Individuals with dementia can become confused, suspicious, frustrated, or angry in situations where they are out of their comfort zone or even at familiar places, at home, or with friends. These changes go beyond feeling annoyed toward a disruption in routine.
  6. Problems with speaking or writing. Individuals may find it hard to follow conversations or storylines, struggle to find the right words, or even say the same thing in a short timespan.
  7. Withdrawal from work or social activities. Due to the changes individuals start to experience, they may withdraw themselves from social activities, work, or hobbies. They may find it difficult to remember how to interact in social settings or complete tasks.

Source:
https://homecareassistance.com/blog/5-early-signs-of-dementia-that-may-surprise-you
https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/10_signs
https://www.healthline.com/health/dementia/early-warning-signs
(image) https://www.jeffreysterlingmd.com/tag/dementia/

If you or someone you know appears to be suffering from dementia, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

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Advice for Dementia: Support for Caregivers

By Dara Kushnir

Caring for someone with dementia can be demanding and mentally exhausting, but it is also important to maintain and strengthen your relationship. Individuals with dementia experience memory problems, impaired judgment, difficulty communicating, and confused thinking more severe than normal aging. In the most severe stage, they are completely dependent on others for even their basic needs, such as hygiene and food. Therefore, finding ways to handle the challenges caregivers often face is essential so both you as a caregiver and the person who has dementia enjoy spending time together.

  1. Know your limits – As much as you want to be able to manage everything, you are only one person. Remember to focus on what’s important and don’t be too hard on yourself about things you can’t manage. Taking breaks allows you to reflect and relax.
  2. Coping with changes – It can be difficult to see the person you care for struggling with things they used to be able to do. It is important to focus on what they can do and support these things rather than what they can’t do.
  3. Address difficult emotions – you may feel isolated, angry, frustrated, or even guilty with your situation. These are very common reactions when caring for someone with dementia and should not make you feel shame. Figuring out how to deal with these feelings is vital though, because they can have a negative impact on your wellbeing as well as the wellbeing of the recipient of your care. Just being there and caring for your loved one helps them immensely.
  4. Be in the moment – Acceptance is a reoccurring, crucial part of caring for a person with dementia. Those with significant memory loss may not be able to discuss things they used to do or participate in certain activities. They can still enjoy things directly in front of them such as looking at photographs and playing simple games, and your company.
  5. Ask for help – Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support. Involving family and friends or voluntary organizations can provide you with support and reduce your stress. It may also help to talk about dementia to others to help them understand what you are doing and suggest ways others can help.

Source: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/help-dementia-care/caring-for-person-dementia
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/managing-your-memory/201812/seek-joy-when-caring-those-dementia
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/managing-your-memory/201811/8-principles-communicating-people-dementia
(image) https://www.insights.uca.org.au/features/changing-the-way-we-talk-about-dementia

If you or someone you know needs help coping with the dementia of a family member, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Don’t Turn Your Back, Offer Your Help— How You Can Help Someone With Depression

By: Dariana Taveras

We tend to be so engaged in the countless facets of life that we often unconsciously neglect when someone we love is fighting an uphill battle. Our own daily affairs lead us astray, as we fail to consider that perhaps someone very near and dear is sadly conflicted. Perhaps they were energetic in the past and experienced difficult circumstances that lead to their feelings of hopelessness, lethargy, tiredness, lack of motivation, and unexplainable sadness. Although we may not be trained professionals in dealing with depression, there may be several actions we can actively pursue to help our loved ones feel seen, heard, cared for, valued, and understood.

Here are a few things to keep in mind if you think your loved one may be enduring symptoms of depression:

  • Empathetically address your concerns with your loved one
  • Emphasize your willingness to support them
  • Offer your help— This may help you gain insight into how to effectively discuss any options your loved one may be open to trying
  • Be there for your loved one, do NOT give up on them!
  • Reassure your loved one that they ARE capable of making the necessary changes that can lead to a happier and healthier life
  • Whatever you do, do NOT blame yourself for your loved one’s depression

The most important thing to remember is that you alone cannot save anyone from their depression. All you can do is try to lend supportive ears to listen and a compassionate heart to understand them the best that you can.

If you are concerned that you or anyone you care about may be suffering from depression, the licensed professionals at Arista Counseling and Psychotherapy can assist you.  Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.  Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.