Everyone forgets things. Sometimes I feel like I could forget my own name. There's much going on. But I know that dementia's different to normal forgetting. And my auntie's different from how she used to be. She's changed a lot in just the last year. So what are the changes in behaviour that I should look out for?
Dr Mark Wenitong
The changes in behaviour that you should look out are things like-- we call it apathy, but it's just kind of withdrawing from social contact, that kind of thing. And that's easy to overlook-- as we were saying earlier, in big crowded households, where there's lots of kids, and lots of other activities happening, you don't always notice that granddad is kind of withdrawn, or he's getting a bit confused.
So that withdrawal is - sometimes people can get a bit more aggressive, and become a little bit more inappropriate, and be angry without any real cause, and get a bit depressed, and feel a bit flat in their emotions. Things started wandering a little, and as well as their forgetfulness and forgetting to do important things. And have trouble concentrating on tasks that they normally could do.
So if you know your grandma used to be able to cook all the stews and stuff like that, and stuff, and she doesn't really remember how to do that, or it's slowly fading for her, it's important to get help early on for a number of reasons.
There are some medications that may or may not help. There's no real treatment for stopping dementia or curing it. But the earlier we get in, the more supports and social things we can do around the person who's affected. And that's really important. So being able to have a plan, being able to understand that when you getting frustrated with them or they're getting angry with you, that there's actually a reason for that. And putting those plans into place.
So seeking help, getting someone who can support you, to help you thinking through how you going to take care of the older person. And then working at ways to ensure that they're safe, that they're not wandering off down the road, and things like that. That they're not doing anything risky, like leaving a gas stove, and those kind of things.
And just making sure that you've got things in place, and you've thought through the issues when you're going out and leaving elders at home, and things like that. So it's important to get in early so those things don't happen. So we've got to pull those signs together, and then go and get checked out, and, you know, the best protocol, I would suggest and other people of the Aboriginal Medical Services. And once again, because they have translation services. They have aboriginal health workers and staff that understand the cultural issues and cultural background.
Last reviewed: January 2016