Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Holiday Awareness.

Yahoo had this article listed on their front page news feed and I thought it was so important to post here. It states that getting the family together for the holidays is a great opportunity to look for physical and mental changes in your older family members.

"The holidays aren’t just an occasion to give thanks and eat until you pop — they’re also an opportunity to check up on the physical and mental well-being of older family members. More than half of older adults with diagnosable dementia have never seen a doctor about memory or thinking concerns."

Don't jump on every little mental difference you see, and don't freak out if your Grandpa forgets your name for a moment; cognitive ability reduction is common as we age.

"Just because Dad forgets the pumpkin pie (for the second year in a row) doesn’t, on its own, suggest that he has Alzheimer’s disease. Chapman explains that certain mental processes, such as memory and thought processing speed, inevitably decline with age. 'Dementia, versus common memory loss, involves two symptoms, with memory problems being one of them,' says Dr. Rebhun, who trains other physicians in how to evaluate patients for dementia. Often the first signs include problems with decision-making and changes in how people make decisions, Chapman explains. Your loved one may not use good judgment or sound logic. For example, your mother might forget to put sugar in the cheesecake, so she sprinkles it on top after the dessert is baked."

And don't feel that you have to deal with it right that moment, or bring it up at the dinner table. Make your observations, check with other family members, and then arrange to have a talk with the affected family member at another time, in a quiet location. Bring another family member for support.

This is a great and timely article, and a good way to keep looking out for our families.