As our parents age, we may notice changes in their personalities. They may become forgetful, irritable, or withdrawn. While some of these changes may be a normal part of aging, they can also be a sign of dementia. Dementia is a progressive neurological disorder that affects a person’s cognitive abilities. It can cause changes in their behavior, personality, and mood.
In this blog post, we will explore the relationship between changes in personality and dementia. You’ll also learn what you can do if you suspect your parent may be experiencing symptoms of this disease.
Signs of Dementia
Dementia is a broad term that describes various conditions affecting memory, thinking, and behavior. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which is a majority of about 60%–80% of cases. Other types of dementia include vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, and frontotemporal dementia.
The signs and symptoms of dementia vary depending on the type of dementia and the stage of the disease. In general, some common signs of dementia include the following:
- Memory loss: This can often mean forgetting recently learned information or important dates and events.
- Difficulty with communication: They might have trouble finding the right words or following a conversation.
- Changes in mood and behavior: Common symptoms are becoming irritable, anxious, or depressed.
- Difficulty with daily activities: They might struggle to complete tasks that were once routine, such as getting dressed or preparing a meal.
- Disorientation: Getting lost in familiar places or losing track of time.
- Poor judgment: They often make poor decisions or fall victim to scams.
- Changes in personality: Personality changes are a common symptom of dementia, especially in the early stages of the disease. Some often become more withdrawn, apathetic, or socially inappropriate. The changes may be subtle at first, but they can become more pronounced and disruptive over time.
What to Do If You Suspect Dementia
Perhaps you suspect that your parent may be experiencing symptoms of dementia. Seeking medical advice as soon as possible is essential. While there is no cure for dementia, early diagnosis, and treatment can help slow the progression of the disease and improve the quality of life for the person with dementia and their family.
The first step is to schedule an appointment with your parents’ primary care physician. They will conduct a thorough evaluation, including a physical exam and cognitive testing, to determine if any underlying medical conditions may be causing the personality changes. They may refer your parent to a specialist, such as a neurologist or geriatric psychiatrist, if necessary.
It is important to remember that getting a diagnosis of dementia can be overwhelming and emotional for both the person with dementia and their family. Therefore, seeking support from family, friends, or a support group is crucial to help you navigate this difficult time.
Personality changes are a common symptom of dementia. Still, they can also signify other medical conditions or life events. Therefore, it is essential to consult a medical professional to rule out other causes before jumping to conclusions.