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You Asked: How Can I Spot Early Signs of Dementia In a Parent?

(TIME.COM) Markham Heid, October 11, 2017 — Don’t write off memory issues as normal aging.

Your father keeps misplacing his keys, or your mother repeats herself. Should you be worried about dementia? If those seemingly minor issues are new ones, you’re right to be concerned.

“People tend to attribute too much to normal aging and are a little dismissive of cognitive loss,” says Dr. Paul Fishman, a professor of neurology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and a neurologist at UMD’s Medical Center. “Dementia is very common, and in general it is under-diagnosed, rather than over-diagnosed.”

Roughly 9% of Americans have dementia, which is a blanket term for a loss of intellectual function that is severe enough to interfere with day-to-day life. That interference often takes the form of memory loss or confusion, but it could also manifest as poor hand-eye coordination, problems with tasks like cooking or operating a computer, or mood and behavioral changes ranging from depression to hostility.

“Driving issues, especially struggling to find their way around areas they know, or not judging distance between cars, or making turns inappropriately, are all symptoms,” Fishman says. “Responding to telemarketers when that’s out of character for them or struggling with finances are also worrying things.”

Source: You Asked: How Can I Spot Early Signs of Dementia In a Parent? | Time.com