If your senior loved ones have started to become more forgetful, don’t automatically chalk it up to normal aging. It might be dementia. The signs of dementia often develop gradually and can sometimes be overlooked, especially if the seniors themselves are embarrassed to admit that they are having problems remembering things.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are 10 early signs of dementia that you should look out for. They include:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life, like forgetting important dates or events, or repeatedly asking someone the same question.
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks such as driving to the grocery store, or playing a favorite game.
- Problems with words, including keeping up with a conversation, or having trouble naming familiar objects.
- Changes in mood or personality, such as becoming confused, anxious or more easily upset.
Seniors who live in Decatur and DeKalb County, Georgia, are fortunate to have a wide range of dementia care resources available to them.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia Research
The Goizueta Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (ADRC) is one of only 27 active Alzheimer’s research centers in the United States that’s supported by the National Institutes of Health.
Though its primary purpose is to facilitate research, the center is also a great resource for people who have been diagnosed with dementia and want to learn more about the different types of the disease.
Memory evaluations are available for seniors who are wondering if they have dementia. Staff neurologists perform a series of tests over two days to determine if there are any underlying causes of the senior’s memory problems.
Primary Care for Dementia Patients
Open since 2015, Emory University Hospital’s Integrated Memory Care Clinic is the first nurse-led clinic in the country specializing in primary care for seniors with dementia.
Specially trained nurse practitioners work closely with a team of geriatricians, neurologists, and social workers to provide care.
DeKalb County, where Decatur is located, is taking steps toward becoming a dementia-friendly community. County leaders used grant money from the Georgia Gerontology Society to host focus groups of caregivers, people living with dementia, residents, and business owners. The goal is to have all aspects of the community work together to be more aware of the needs of people with dementia.
Several churches throughout Decatur and DeKalb County host support groups for people who are suffering from dementia (and their loved ones) to connect with others who are in the same situation.
- Decatur First United Methodist Church, 300 E. Ponce de Leon Ave. — This church hosts a Dementia Friends group. Dementia Friends is an organization that works to educate people about dementia and what it’s like for people who live with it.
- Briarlake Baptist Church, 3715 Lavista Road
- Peace Baptist Church, 4000 Covington Hwy.
- Dunwoody United Methodist Church, 1548 Mt. Vernon Road, Dunwoody — This church hosts an early stage support group for seniors with recent diagnoses to learn more about dementia and the resources available to them.
When your loved one’s dementia has progressed to the point that they can no longer live on their own, it’s important to find a community that specializes in the needs of dementia patients.
Arbor Terrace of Decatur prides itself on offering the best care possible for residents with dementia. The community has a special dementia care neighborhood designed specifically for residents with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, and staff members receive special training in the best ways to meet their needs.
If you’d like to find out more about Arbor Terrace of Decatur, call 404-292-5910 to arrange a tour.