Dementia can be challenging to diagnose. According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, “approximately three-quarters of people with dementia have not received a diagnosis, and therefore do not have access to treatment, care and organized support that getting a formal diagnosis can provide.”
A common reason for dementia going undiagnosed is because it develops slowly, and the symptoms associated with the condition can be challenging to recognize or are even mistaken for normal aspects of aging. Many people only link memory loss and confusion with dementia, causing other common symptoms to go unnoticed.
Even if someone is aware of the signs of dementia and begins to notice them in themselves or someone they love, it does not always mean the onset of dementia. In reality, other conditions have dementia-like symptoms. It is important to seek the advice of a doctor and receive a proper diagnosis to get the right treatment and care.
Our team at Franklin Park® Senior Living is sharing three of these treatable health conditions that can mimic dementia symptoms.
Urinary Tract Infection
Developing a urinary tract infection (UTI) becomes more common with age and is usually easily treated with antibiotics. However, older individuals who experience a UTI are less “likely to have typical symptoms like pain during urination, fever, or a frequent urge to go (Daily Caring).” Instead, their symptoms could show up as those very similar to dementia, including:
- A sudden change in behavior
- Difficulty concentrating
- Trouble with memory
Medication Side Effects & Drug Interactions
AARP states, “older adults are more likely than younger people to develop cognitive impairment as a side effect of a medication, and drug toxicity is the culprit in as many as 12 percent of patients who present with suspected dementia, research shows.”
When you take a medication, whether it is a prescription or an over-the-counter drug, there are many possible side effects. Several types of medications can affect a person’s cognition (thinking, memory, and reasoning abilities), but the most common include those for sleep, pain, anxiety, and allergies.
While certain medications can affect cognition on their own, this effect could happen when others are taken together. This is why it is important to tell your doctor everything you regularly take, including vitamins and supplements.
Additionally, even a prescription you have been taking for a long time can begin to cause dementia-like symptoms. “The reason why…is that your kidneys and liver become less effective at clearing drugs from your body as you get older, so medication can build up in your system over time and cause problems (AARP).”
“The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck. It makes hormones that help your organs work and control how well your body uses food for fuel (WebMD).” If your body makes too much or too little thyroid hormone, it can affect your cognitive functioning and cause symptoms similar to dementia.
Some of these include:
- Difficulty learning new things
- Trouble focusing
- Increased anxiety or depression
- Having trouble recalling an event that recently took place
If you have noticed any dementia-like symptoms in yourself or a loved one, it is important to talk to a healthcare professional. They will be able to do tests and properly diagnose the condition, working with you and your family to create the best treatment or care plan.
In many cases, the symptoms individuals are experiencing turn out to be caused by a treatable condition like those mentioned above. For those who are diagnosed with dementia, though, the memory care programs we offer in our communities throughout Texas can help.
Through engaging activities, personalized care, and other meaningful opportunities, our Refreshing Waters® memory care program helps to promote cognitive health and enhance our residents’ quality of life.
Carefully designed, vibrant spaces are plentiful in our memory care communities because we know that residents value living in a community that values them. Our memory care communities in Texas feature well-lit pathways, outdoor courtyards, and carefully planned floor plans that allow residents to experience the best things about Franklin Park® Senior Living while remaining comfortable and assured.
Because residents are our top priority, each amenity and feature in our memory care communities was crafted to help our residents accomplish their goals and succeed. Our neighborhoods are designed to enhance familiarity, safety, routine, and comfort. We are committed to making every resident feel at home.
To learn more about our memory care services throughout Texas and what our communities offer, visit our website or contact a member of our team.