“During a recent consult, a 5-year-old boy sitting with his mother blurted out, ‘What’s wrong with my Grandma?’” said Doctor Kin Lee.
An ever increasing number of adult children caring for ageing parents now reach out to their doctor for advice when their mum or dad is showing signs of ageing. The commonplace concerns are misplacing the car keys, forgetting where the car is parked, and unable to recall the name of a street, person or object.
“The challenge is knowing whether forgetting is due to a distracted mind, normal ageing or the early warning signs of dementia,” said Doctor Lee. “But my rule of thumb is when once familiar tasks become difficult, it’s time for a professional assessment.”
Other early warning signs include recent memory loss, difficulty in performing familiar tasks, difficulty finding the right word, disorientation to place and time, deteriorated judgement, problems with calculations, misplacing things, mood and behaviour changes, personality changes and loss of initiative.
“The earlier the diagnosis, the better chance medications will have of slowing the onset,” said Doctor Lee.
If someone close to you is showing early warning signs of dementia, visit your GP to plan the best way forward.