Psychological Services

The Aging Process: When is it Time to Evaluate for Dementia?

At United Psychological Services, we have specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of dementia for over twenty years.

Signs of Developing Dementia:

  • Repeating your sentences
  • Memory seems worse
  • Forgetting day to day items
  • Forgetting what someone just said
  • Lost in familiar places, losing your sense of direction
  • Lost going to the grocery store around the corner
  • Difficulty completing daily tasks around the house
  • Unable to make decisions, changing your mind all the time
  • Incorrect assumptions occurring more often
  • Misinterpreted conversations
  • Accusing others of taking things
  • Rapid mood changes
  • Not remembering conversations you had the day before
  • Loss of words and cannot communicate thoughts
  • Loss of thought while searching for the word
  • Restricted social activities
  • Feeling confused often
  • Less organized in your day, still in your pajamas at 6:00 in the evening
  • Forgetting routine activities
  • Glasses found in the refrigerator, checkbook in the kitchen cupboard
  • New situations are frightening and avoided.
  • Decreased inhibition, alcoholic personalities return
  • Saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, poor social skills, unawareness of feelings of others
  • Cannot shift to different activity if things do not work out
  • Cannot shift to different thought, rigid thinking

Emotional changes often signal the onset of dementia as a secondary or primary symptom:

  • Dementia involving strictly the frontal processes (Frontal Lobe Dementia, Primary Progressive Aphasia)
  • Dementia involving the parietal and frontal processes (Lewy body Dementia)
  • Dementia specifically involving the temporal and frontal processes (Cardiovascular Dementia and Traumatic Brain Injury)
  • Dementia involving primarily the temporal and parietal processes (Alzheimer’s Dementia)

Significant emotional changes that would suggest the need for evaluation:

  • Reverting back to old personality
  • Emotions out of context, not making sense for the situation
  • Emotions out of control and not characteristic of the person
  • Increased impulsivity or compulsivity
  • Screaming, rages that are not provoked
  • No longer caring about others, rules, or the “appropriateness of the situation” or what people may think
  • Difficulty appreciating the feelings of others or to feel how they might be feeling.
  • Lack of understanding as to why people might be upset with you
  • Depression that is deep and results in total isolation
  • Easily angered and frustrated
  • Tendency to argue over anything, need to be right much of the time.
  • Easily stressed and emotionally reactive, traits not seen before
  • Acting in a more immature manner, sexual acting out, poor table manners
  • Not able to budget finances, spending sprees

Significant cognitive or thinking changes that would suggest the need for evaluation:

  • Not able to recall newly learned information
  • Cannot set goals to accomplish during the day
  • Easily distracted by everything around you
  • Difficulty determining what you want to do first and sticking with that plan
  • Thinking that makes no sense, only you don’t know it
  • Statements out of context to the discussion
  • Obsessed, and overly preoccupied with objects, thoughts, or events
  • Your actions may seem to occur without rhyme or reason.
  • Cannot think flexibly
  • Becoming stuck and thinking the same thought over and over
  • Thinking and re-thinking about specific topics
  • Erase and re-erasing, writing the same to-do lists
  • Your brain is so busy you cannot complete your thoughts, finish your sentence, or hear what someone else is saying to you