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How can you tell if your elderly loved one has dementia?

If you worry about your elderly parents’ developing dementia, then you may want to begin estate planning talks. When someone develops dementia, he or she may lose the ability to take care of finances or medical care.

According to the CDC, dementia is a general term for disorders that affect the ability to remember, make decisions, or conduct everyday activities.

Are your parents at risk of dementia?

A lot of people believe that dementia is a normal part of aging. Although it is normal to have some memory changes, elderly adults do not usually lose memories, experience or language. Instead, older adults may occasionally lose their car keys, forget a recent event or struggle to find a word.

If you worry about your parents, he or she may have a higher risk. Some risks of dementia include:

  • Age
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Poor heart health

To diagnose dementia, a healthcare provider may perform memory, attention and cognitive ability tests. In some cases, your parent may require a blood test, physical exam or brain scan.

What are the symptoms of dementia?

There are several types of dementia. Dementia can include Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, mixed dementia and more. The most common symptoms of dementia include loss of memory. Your loved one may struggle with older memories or may even lose the name of a close friend or family member. He or she may become lost in familiar places or forget words that refer to familiar objects.

If you suspect your loved one has dementia, you should first have a conversation with him or her about a medical diagnosis.

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