10 Early symptoms of Cognitive Decline

You walk into your colleague’s office cubicle with something important in mind, but it just dissipates into thin air by the time you reach there. And despite trying your best, you can’t recall what you came there for.

Small incidences like this occur in everybody’s life. Most people brush it off as a one off incident.

For all you know, it might just have been a small memory lapse. Nothing serious. But what if?

Physicians can throw around terms like cognitive decline and early dementia and it can be a  really scary thought. Imagine having to live with constantly declining mental health through your 40s or 50s.

Today, we discuss about some of the signs and symptoms that might be an indicator of something more serious, like say Dementia or Cognitive decline.

#1 – Increasing incidents of short term memory loss

Are you experiencing recurring incidents of short term memory loss where you can remember incidents that occurred during your childhood but fail to recall what you had for dinner yesterday? Forgetting where you left your spectacles, failing to remember why you went to the kitchen may all be signs of short term memory loss.

#2 – Forgetting words

You are trying to communicate something and can’t find the right words. You struggle to finish sentences and often, it takes more time than it ever used to.

#3 – Mood Swings

Random mood swings are typical during early stages of cognitive decline. In extreme and undetected cases, it leads to complete changes in the personality of the patient. If they were outgoing and cheerful, they might become reclusive and depressed or vice-a-versa.

#4 – Inability in completing normal chores

One of the earliest signs of cognitive decline is the inability to complete chores or tasks in everyday life. Some people may find it difficult to learn new things or to play board games, whilst others can struggle with normal tasks like finding their own clothes.

#5 – Listlessness

Do you feel bored to go out or do anything fun? Do you find reasons to avoid meeting friends? You no longer have hobbies or like activities that you earlier enjoyed?

#6 – Losing directions

People with early dementia may find it difficult to find their way to office or navigate through routes that they have used for years. They may even find it difficult to follow directions or maps.

#7 – OCD or repetitiveness

Many-a-time, signs of cognitive decline are mistaken for OCD because the person may perform the same tasks over and over during the day. For example, they may keep washing their hands or shave repeatedly.

#8 – Scared to try something new

Because of difficulty identifying people or finding routes they knew or remembering words that came naturally to them, people with early onset of cognitive decline are afraid to try something new. They stick to their routines and vehemently oppose any suggested changes.

#9 – Unable to follow movies, TV shows

They may find it difficult to follow along a TV show or any storyline in general.

#10 – Confusion

People with early dementia may appear confused. This can occur due to one of the many reasons we mentioned above. They can’t remember faces, places, words, reasons or addresses.

6 tips to keep your grey matter sparkling

Nothing can be scarier than knowing that your body and mind are ageing faster than they should. The flight of stairs that you used to race up suddenly seems like a steep climb that leaves you gasping for breath.

The crossword puzzle that you used to solve in less than five minutes, takes a lot longer these days.

Let’s face it. Ageing is inevitable and so are the changes that occur with it.

But with some tips, you can keep your body and your mind in prime shape as you approach your twilight years. And believe us, you will thank yourself that you did.

Here are five tips that will help you immensely in preventing your mental health from declining.

#1 – Exercise

There’s no better way to stay in shape physically. But exercise is also good for your brain. Exercising for even 30 minutes a day will keep the flow of endorphins (happy hormones) constant and that’s all that you need to keep stress in check. As an added bonus, this will also reduce the secretion of Cortisol, the stress hormone that can contribute to diabetes, heart disease and a variety of other such conditions.

#2 – Self Confidence

As you age, more and more people around you will constantly try to remind you about it using stereotypes as references. Most of these will be negative and associate memory loss, lack of muscle tone and cognitive decline as being a normal part of ageing. Disassociate yourself with such negative stereotypes and believe in yourself. There’s nothing like some self-confidence to keep yourself motivated to take action.

#3 – Learn something new all the time

There’s so much to learn every day. Pick up a new hobby or an interest and pursue it. Learn a new language, a skill, learn to play the guitar or learn the ballet. One of the advantages of constant learning is that it promotes better neural connectivity among the brain cells. In simple terms, it helps the brain stay active.

#4 – Schedule regular health checkups

There’s nothing more important than being aware of an underlying health condition that may get aggravated if left undetected. Regular, periodic health checkups keep us aware of where we stand from a health perspective. We have seen many men and women procrastinating it due to the fear of finding an asymptomatic disease. But that’s all the more reason for you to get it diagnosed early.

#5 – Meditate or practice relaxation techniques

We lead extremely stressful lives that leaves very little time for relaxation or meditation. But it is crucial that you take the load off the brain every now and then. Any relaxation technique like meditation or Yoga helps you control stress, reduce anxiety and calm frayed nerves. Make it a priority to take at least an hour off each week where you are doing nothing. Just relax and give your brain the rest it much deserves.

#6 – Eat your greens

According to a recent study, eating up to two servings of leafy greens a day is the best way to protect your brain from early cognitive decline. So, add some dark colored leaves, like spinach or Kale or lettuce to your diet starting today.

6 Parenting tips to help children with autism

 

Every parent in the world wants their child to be hale and hearty. So, when they are diagnosed with Autism, you might feel the world slip away from under your feet.

We understand. It takes time to understand and accept the diagnosis and to come to terms with the fact that your life will never be a normal one again.

However, once you do, it’s time to get up, dust yourself and prepare for it.

As parents to a child with Autism, there are some very simple ground rules and best practices that can help you and them cope with their lives.

Here are a few of them.

#1 – Your child will not grow out of it: Autism Spectrum Disorder, commonly known as ASD is a developmental disorder that your child will never grow out of, even though a lot of people mistakenly believe this to be the case. However, there are ample supportive therapies that can help children regain their ability to lead a normal life. So, the first that that you should do, if you suspect something to be amiss is to get a diagnosis. The earlier you begin treatment, the easier it will be for your child. Also, do not believe naysayers who make it sound like no matter what you try, it’s not going to make a difference. That’s a lie.

#2 – The internet will be your friend and your foe: It’s the era of Dr. Google, right? Stop googling your child’s symptoms and reading about potential cures. Instead speak to a therapist. However, you can log on to support groups and forums on Facebook to speak directly to parents who have experience living with an Autistic child. Depression and anxiety are common among new Autism parents. Support groups can be a lifesaver.

#3 – Learn to take advice in your stride

You will be receiving a lot of advice from friends, loved ones, friends of friends, neighbors, passersby and even strangers, most of which will be (unintentionally) jack shit. Be prepared to take it in your stride rather than pulling your hair out over it.

#4 – Learning to communicate with the child

One of the biggest challenges that parents face is to communicate with their child. However, you don’t necessarily need to communicate with them using words. Sign language and even looks or the right tone can help you create cues that help your child understand what you are trying to say. Most children with ASD rely on cues, non-verbal at times to communicate. You need to pick up these cues early.

#5 – Understanding triggers

Autistic children can be under sensitive to certain stimulus and hypersensitive to others. It is important for you to realize what triggers a bad behavior and a good one. You should reward good behavior and try to avoid stimuli that trigger self-destructive behavior or tantrums.

 

#6 – Speak to the local school about an Individualized Education Plan (IEP)

Many parents wish to enroll their child in a special education school. The first step towards this is to procure an evaluation from the local school. However, the evaluation is not written in stone. You can question it, demand that it be changed and involve third parties like your child’s doctor or therapist to be a part of the IEP team. In a worst scenario, you can even pursue legal avenues.