To have Dementia or Not? That is the ? not easily answered!

Catherine Palmer Paton
3 min readOct 17, 2020


Submitted by livfully on Fri, 10/11/2013–21:33

I am taking a class at Noble Horizons in Salisbury CT on Alzheimer’s (in Oct 2013) made it clear there is not an quick easy way to tell if someone has dementia or what kind. A lot of symptoms have to do with people losing aspects of their memory, which is located in various parts of the brain.

Some may not recognize people, others forget names and still others (or with some overlap) may get lost or have problems doing things they used to with their hands or following directions, staying organized or keeping up with ADL (activities of daily living.)

Good screenings are important, and telling the story of one’s ‘brain fog’ or forgetfulness or other neurological problems is part of the process to help a doctor determine what kind of problem or dementia a person may have.

After a stroke, changes in the vascular functioning of the brain may contribute to Vascular Dementia. Other medical conditions such as long-term diabetes or high blood pressure could also factor into developing Vascular Dementia.

A visit to one’s doctor annually or every few years if otherwise healthy makes sense but more specialized consults to track changes in one’s thinking and functioning at home, driving, at work or even socially is important.

Everyone should be screened for Safety and Care (making certain a person is not suffering from abuse, neglect, undue financial or social stress, even grief, hoarding or other factors which can make it hard to function.)

Dementia often happens along with Alzheimer’s but they are not one and the same…so let’s learn more as I take the class and folks share their own tips.

Please take extra care to keep people well-supervised, even 24–7 with someone nearby and with them if going outdoors even briefly if they may wander. Do not leave people ‘home alone’ who cannot make calls or speak readily…that is my own advice, not a medical standard, which frankly, seems to be lacking.

IF that could be clarified, likely many family and friends would follow suit on giving best care to their loved ones or others they know by advocating for the care needed.

Most people do not get the right help until real trouble that’s a losing plan (really a no plan, with is too often a plan to fail). Let’s make a plan for ourselves to have good health proxies and care teams who would monitor questionable behaviors and not just ‘hope someone else is doing that’.

Better to have a double check than no advocate..thanks for all you do for yourself and others in terms of healthy care and staying connected even with resources such as or com…

A quick tip: consult with an elder law attorney. Sometimes there is a free consult if you go to a talk. See Barbara Reynolds’ website from New Milford CT for newsletters or others in your state who specialize in Elder Law.

Plan for Yourself as well as Others! Maybe have a friend help Y-O-U since it’s so easy to put things on the back burner when it comes to self-care.

Tags: Dementia, Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia



Catherine Palmer Paton

Catherine Palmer Paton of CT is the mom of a heroic teen son Kaelan who passed saving his friends from dangerous water in 2009. Writing on also.