Guest blog by Jacqueline Marcell
Author of Elder Rage, or Take My Father... Please! How To Survive Caring For Aging Parents
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog
The 10 Warning Signs of Dementia
1. Recent memory loss -- your loved one may ask you the same question over and over, look at a beloved granddaughter and ask her name, or forget that they just told you that story and tell you again.
2. Difficulty performing familiar tasks -- such as tying a necktie or shoelaces, or being unable to do the knitting they have enjoyed for many years.
3. Problems with language - using the wrong word or unable to remember the right word to use.
4. Disorientation of time and place -- mistaking a time period of hours for days, or giving incorrect directions in the town they have lived in for many years.
5. Poor or decreased judgment - for example, while babysitting they may completely forget about the child they are supposed to be watching.
6. Problems with abstract thinking -- inability to balance a checkbook, adding becomes difficult or they may insist that a one-dollar bill is a 20-dollar bill.
7. Inappropriate misplacing of things -- you might find the wristwatch in the sugar bowl, the iron in the microwave, or a hat in the freezer.
8. Rapid mood swings -- switching from tears to anger for no apparent reason.
9 Changes in personality -- you may notice a tendency toward fear and paranoia.
10. Loss of initiative -- your loved one may not want to get out of bed, withdraws socially or says they don't want to live anymore. Behavior Modification Techniques
Once the brain chemistry is properly balanced for the dementia, often-present depression and possible aggression, you will be able to start behavior modification techniques on a challenging elder if they are still in the very earliest stage of dementia.
As amazing as it sounds, the use of tough love coupled with rewards and consequences worked to turn around the most obstinate man on the planet: my father, even with the onset of dementia. By being 100% consistent, never rewarding his bad behavior and using lots of praise to encourage good behavior, he finally changed his negative life-long behavior pattern of screaming and yelling to get his way. He learned that he could (as Mom would say), "catch more flies with honey than vinegar."