Experts fear social distancing could cause families to miss early signs of dementia

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February 07 2021 05:30 pm

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — While keeping a healthy distance from older loved ones this holiday season is of the utmost importance, it also means some more subtle health cues could be missed.    

“We in senior living are seeing cognitive decline accelerate just because people are isolated,” said Steve Parrott with McCrite Plaza.

Parrott says family members should keep a sharp eye out for any signs of cognitive decline. That could include repeating the same things frequently, agitation, and mood swings.

“When somebody is starting this, they’re aware that they’re forgetting things,” Parrott said.

Early signs of dementia or cognitive decline can be hard to read in the best of circumstances. Parrott says the quarantine adds an additional layer of complexity.

“People say ‘well they’re on a loop’ is kind of how they describe it and for some people they start to repeat themselves after a minute or two and they forget that they’ve already mentioned that to you so that’s kind of a classic thing that you’ll see,” Parrott said.

Parrott believes that while it can be difficult to have these hard conversations with older loved ones, it is vital that family members speak up at the first warning signs.

“Try to have those conversations like, ‘I’m concerned about you, I don’t want to see something happened and you forget to tell me that you had a fall’.”

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