As we get older, it’s not uncommon for us to experience some memory loss or forgetfulness. However, when these symptoms become more severe or begin to affect everyday life, it could be a sign of dementia. When a friend shows signs of dementia, it can be challenging to know what to do or say.
Here are some steps you can take when you think your friend has dementia.
- Look for signs and symptoms
If you observe that your friend is experiencing memory lapses, frequently repeats questions during your visits, or appears to be struggling with routine tasks, it may indicate the onset of dementia. Additional indications and symptoms may involve alterations in behavior or mood, as well as disorientation. To provide assistance on the next steps, make a note of these occurrences.
- Talk to your friend
Broaching the subject of dementia can be difficult, but it’s essential to have an honest conversation with your friend. These changes may be scary and overwhelming for your friend, and they may need your support and understanding. These conversations can happen over time and brought up when situations arise. Listen to their concerns and fears, and offer your support and understanding.
- Encourage your friend to seek medical advice
Encourage your friend to seek medical attention and, if possible, offer to help them with the process. The earlier dementia is diagnosed, the better the chances of managing symptoms and slowing the progression of the disease. A doctor can also rule out other issues that could be causing your friend’s symptoms such as poor diet, lack of sleep, stress, trauma, medication interactions or other health conditions.
- Offer your support
Dementia can be a daunting and isolating experience for your friend. Offer to accompany them to appointments, provide emotional support and help with practical tasks such as grocery shopping or balancing her checkbook. It’s essential to respect your friend’s autonomy and allow them to make their own decisions, but let them know that you are there to help in any way you can. This post may also be helpful: Coping with a life-changing diagnosis.
- Educate yourself
Learning more about dementia can help you understand what your friend is going through and how you can support them. There are many resources available online, and you could also consider attending support groups or attending classes and conferences.
If you want to learn more about dementia, consider attending the upcoming FREE conference featuring internationally known Dementia expert Teepa Snow. (Conference Details) You may also consider visiting the Memory Cafe held on Mondays in Sun Lakes.