What Could Cause Dementia Symptoms to Worsen?

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Statistics indicate approximately 10 percent of older adults beyond the age of 65 live with some degree of dementia. As the disorder progresses, communication becomes more difficult. When an affected elderly loved one seems more cognitively impaired than usual, there may be an underlying reason. There are various environmental factors that may increase dementia symptoms. 

Physical Discomfort

Older adults with dementia may experience pain or discomfort but be unable to express the problem to family members. A senior might be constipated, experience abdominal pain, or have a headache. An elderly family member living with arthritis or another musculoskeletal ailment may be experiencing more discomfort than usual. Ask your loved one simple questions in an attempt to determine the problem. If your loved one is able to understand, have him or her point to the area causing discomfort. 

Caring for senior loved ones can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

Unmet Basic Needs

Sometimes an inability to express a desire to have a basic need met may cause increased agitation, pacing, or frustration. Your loved one may simply need to use the bathroom, or he or she might be hungry. Accompany your loved one to the bathroom every two to three hours throughout the day. Offer snacks between meals. 

Anxiety and frustration often emerge when seniors with dementia feel deprived of the ability to choose what to wear. Allow your loved one to make simple decisions. Your parent might want to go outside in the fresh air and sunshine, enjoy regular outings in the backyard, or perhaps take a walk around the block. 

Sundowning Syndrome

As the sun becomes lower in the sky before sunset, interior lighting changes. When dementia affects visual ability, your loved one may perceive the change of light in abstract ways that provoke fear or suspicion. Consider turning on lights in the home a few hours before sunset to offset the problem. Despite these efforts, some seniors may continue manifesting worsening symptoms. Try diverting your loved one’s attention by encouraging him or her to listen to favorite music or watch a popular TV show. Perhaps allow your loved one to help with simple chores.

A professional caregiver trained in dementia care can be a fantastic source of support for you and your loved one. Families looking for top-rated Roseville elder care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.


Elderly people with dementia may exhibit a progression of symptoms if they have urinary tract infections or are coming down with a cold or the flu. Some seniors don’t develop fevers when infections develop. Look for other physical symptoms. Your loved one might display bladder incontinence or upper respiratory symptoms. Seek medical intervention if the problem doesn’t seem to be resolving. 

Adverse Medication Reactions

There are many different over-the-counter and prescription medications that may cause an increase in dementia symptoms. Side effects may occur with a new medication. Some medications accumulate in the body over time. Long-term medications may need dosage adjustments. Medications that might cause the underlying problem include: 

  • Antihistamines 
  • Antibiotics 
  • Anti-anxiety drugs 
  • Antipsychotics 
  • Anti-nausea agents 
  • Anticonvulsants 
  • Cholesterol-lowering drugs 
  • Corticosteroids 
  • Muscle relaxants 
  • Over-the-counter or prescription analgesics 
  • Sedatives

Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Roseville seniors can benefit greatly from the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program designed to promote cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. CTM is included at no additional charge with any of the in-home care plans provided by Home Care Assistance. Reach out to us at Home Care Assistance if you need compassionate professional care for your loved one. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (916) 226-3737.


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