And so it begins with Thanksgiving and all the celebrations that follow - a season of love and family and friends, of gatherings and parties of too much and too little, but most of all STRESS .
The expression stress as we have come to think of it, was coined by Hans Selye in 1936, defined as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change". Which we now know includes both positive and negative emotions and everything in between.
Often what is best about the holiday's can be what is hardest. If you only see your older family members a few times a year the changes in them can be concerning even alarming. Remember they too are finding these gatherings stressful; especially if they have gone from living a quiet life to being around many generations of family members.
It will help to know the difference between the signs of normal aging and the beginnings of Dementia or Alzheimer's. Remember, too, only a Doctor can diagnose Dementia or Alzheimer's. Some of the following changes could also be caused by treatable conditions; something as simple as dehydration for example.
Personality or Behavioral Changes - this is big; if someone is no longer interested in people and activities they used to enjoy. Or if they refuse to join in, even when encouraged to do so.
Forgetting how to perform everyday tasks and Reduced ability to focus and concentrate -This is the difference between botching a recipe (anyone can flub up) and not being able to follow a recipe.
Losing their Way - Forgetting the route to a familiar place, real confusion and disorientation.
Wild Mood Swings -that are often accompanied by apathy, depression, suspicion, or confusion.
Forgetting Simple Words - inserting the wrong words and/or not being able to follow conversation.
Poor Judgement - anything from not dressing for the weather to falling for a scammer. Neglecting their personal grooming.
Misplacing or Not Recognizing Familiar Objects - Not just forgetting where you parked the car, but forgetting that you have a car or which car is yours.
Difficulty Remembering - especially short term memory new and novel things not seeming to stick
If there are enough warning signs for you to be truly concerned, get your family member to a Doctor to rule out any of the many possible treatable things that could be causing these changes.
Realizing we all forget things, get confused feel overwhelmed sometimes, be patient and attentive and
Have Happy Safe and Healthy Holidays!
For more detailed information read this. with Thanks to the Society of Certified Senior Advisors