We so often wait until there’s a problem before we take action on something serious. We tell ourselves that no news is good news. It’s scary to go in for a check up, because, what if something really is wrong? We don’t need that kind of stress. We ignore warning signs or rationalize them away. We don’t want things to change.
Unfortunately, for many seniors in America, the risk of not knowing can be too great. Living with undiagnosed dementia can lead to a number of potentially dangerous scenarios and unsafe behavior that can be easily prevented and taken precaution against.
Research shows that Undiagnosed adults with Alzheimer’s were more than two times as likely to undertake actions that put themselves in danger than seniors who had been formally diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Age 65 is a good year to begin regular check ups (perhaps yearly) to be safe, not just to be reassured about undiagnosed Alzheimer’s but a good number of other conditions that become increasingly common in elders.
Examples of “unsafe behavior” may include (but are not limited to):
-Forgetting to take other medicines, or forgetting you have already taken them.
-Neglecting duties to manage important finances.
-Accidents while driving due to unawareness of surroundings.
These problems often occur because a senior is not aware that they have the problem at all. And that allows these kinds of issues to happen at their worst. Seniors who have been diagnosed with dementia often implement precautions into their daily routines meant to help reminding them they need to stay on task, take certain medications, and avoid potentially threatening or dangerous scenarios. Or at least have help (hired or otherwise) around to care for and cover for them.
If you are an adult child of a senior who is showing signs of dementia or extreme changes in behavior, it may be time to have a talk with them. They may or may not be aware of these changes themselves, or they may be afraid to take the sometimes inconvenient next step in going through with the lifestyle alterations that handling dementia and Alzheimer’s will require.