Have you recently taken a loved one for a cognitive test?
Why did you decide to have them tested? Did they agree or refuse and put up a fight?
Anyone who has come to the conclusion it’s time for a cognitive test has experienced some different or unusual behavior with their loved one. In the case with my mother, it was her forgetfulness leaving the stove on and leaving the house. There were other things, but this was my major concern.
Everyone experiences different behavior that gives a red flag there’s something not right. At first, you may disregard the forgetfulness as a fluke, we all have a moment we forget things, right? But in the case of a person losing their short-term memory it’s more than a fluke.
It’s time to pay close attention to the behavior of your loved one. Are they becoming short temper? Are they doing strange things like putting something away in a place where it obviously doesn’t belong and then swearing, they didn’t do it? Most likely you are the one who did it. These are just a few examples of what a person with dementia will display with short term memory problems.
As this behavior continues it will eventually lead to more memory loss. How long will it take for this to happen? There’s no telling, everyone is different. The lifestyle they’ve lived plays a large part in how their brain is deteriorating. Were they heavy drinkers in the past or now? Heavy smokers? Have they had an unhealthy diet throughout their life? Lack exercise? Taken medications that cause mental decline? All of these are contributors leading to dementia.
There are people who’ve had relatives that had or have dementia. In the past, there wasn’t a way to tell if you had the gene that causes Alzheimer’s Disease. Now there are tests that can show if it’s in your gene pool. These are usually people who’ve had family members in every generation that had some sort of dementia. You can search here to read more on that.
Starting with cognitive testing is the first step in learning what you are dealing with and how to approach this diagnosis. Your neurologist will guide you and suggest a plan to follow. If you feel you need a second, or even third opinion, then get it. We can never have too many opinions when it comes to a diagnosis for dementia.
Search for resources on caregiving and dementia related information. The Alzheimer’s Association is a good place to start. Their resources are some of the best. Take advantage of educating yourself, either with these resources or talk to someone who has been or is going through the same thing as you.
Just talking to another person about your situation is helpful. Remember, you are not alone! You might feel like you’re alone, but believe me, you are not! Last of all, caregiving takes a lot of patience. This will be a challenging road, but believe it or not, it can also be a rewarding roll caring for the person you love so dearly.