Senility symptoms in the elderly often creep up so slowly that you might not be aware that there is a problem until their health has deteriorated significantly. But if you have seniors in your family, it is a good idea to be aware of the senility symptoms in the elderly, as there are some medications available that can slow down the inevitable decline cause by senile dementia.
Senility symptoms in the elderly
Memory loss: forgetting names and where you left your keys happens to all of us at some point, but for those in the early stages of senility, short term memory loss is one of the first symptoms of deteriorating cognitive function. Signs to look out for include the person repeating the same sentence or telling you the same story, over and over again. They might also forget appointments, names of friends and family, and as their memory worsens, they might go out and then forget how to find their way home again.
Confusion and disorientation: people suffering from senility often show signs of distress and confusion. Everyday tasks such as making a cup of tea can become impossible. Doors might be left unlocked or the patient forgets to eat.
Personality changes: a sociable person who enjoyed lots of activities and regularly met up with friends might become withdrawn and depressed. The person might show signs of irritability and bad temper, or behave in an inappropriate manner.
A deterioration of language skills: a senile person will muddle up their words and use the wrong words in sentences. They may struggle to put coherent sentences together as the disease takes hold in their brain.
Deterioration of reasoning skills: in the beginning, problems writing a shopping list of balancing the chequebook are common, but over time, even the simplest of tasks become impossible.
Intermediate senility symptoms in the elderly
Depression: a common symptom of senility in the elderly, depression is often linked to a withdrawal from normal activities.
Paranoia: the patient may complain of being persecuted by their family or doctor and attempts to seek help on their behalf will lead to further confrontation. Paranoia often goes hand in hand with aggression and hostility—the patient will refuse to accept help or fight efforts to have them admitted to a care home.
Lack of personal hygiene: senile people usually forget to bathe or wash themselves. They might have problems getting dressed or wear the same clothes, day in and day out. Or they could suffer from incontinence issues and start to smell.
Difficulties eating: problems preparing meals or shopping for groceries can lead to weight loss and a deterioration in physical health.
Severe senility symptoms in the elderly
Loss of mobility: patients suffering from senility lose their motor skills and begin to find walking very difficult without assistance.
Losing the ability to feed oneself or go to the toilet without assistance occurs as the disease progresses and the patient becomes completely dependent on others for even the most basic of care.
Long-term memory fades and the patient will be unable to recognise close family and friends.
Incontinence: single or double incontinence is common in the latter stages of senility as the body begins to shut down.