Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate: Dr. Cynthia Speaks!

Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman
3 min readMar 11, 2024

Topic: Does Your Loved One Have Dementia?

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Does your loved one have dementia, not to be confused with Alzheimer’s? Having intermittent trouble finding the right word or remembering where you put things is not unusual. However, persistent difficulty with memory, thinking, or the capacity to complete everyday responsibilities might be signs of something more significant.

Dementia is a term for changes in the brain that cause a loss of functioning that interferes with daily life. Dementia is a syndrome that can be caused by many factors that, in time, destroy nerve cells and harm the brain, leading to a decline in cognitive function. It has been known to undermine language, problem-solving, attention, and visual connections. Dementia can also make it difficult for your loved one to control their emotions, which can lead to personality fluctuations. African American families often hide the diagnosis because they are ashamed and will keep loved ones out of public view to avoid harmful and shameful remarks.

Caregivers with the challenge of caring for dementia in the African American community and loved ones need extra family support because of the exhausting nature of the disease. Recent statistics share that dementia is the seventh leading cause of death worldwide. Loved ones require constant care. It is imperative to seek support from organizations and healthcare practitioners. According to World Health Organization estimates, many have limited income and resources. It also stated that women are more affected than men (World Health Organization, 2023).

Early Signs of Dementia

This list is not exhaustive, but some early symptoms to note are:

Misjudging distance

Getting lost when walking or driving

Forgetting events

Misplacing things

Confused in familiar places

Solving problems or making decisions

Finding words

Difficulties performing common tasks

Reading as much as you can on how to care for loved ones with dementia is necessary. It is also essential to ask questions. Remember, the only crazy question is the one not asked. We want to always keep our loved ones safe by staying informed. Below is an excellent article to read for your consideration.

Weisman de Mamani, A., Weintraub, M. J., Maura, J., Martinez de Andino, A., & Brown, C. A. (2018). Stigma, expressed emotion, and quality of life in caregivers of individuals with dementia. Family Process, 57(3), 694–706.

As Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, know that caring for a loved one with dementia is nothing to hide or be ashamed of. We do not get to choose some health challenges that come our way. What we can do is support our elderly loved ones without shame or embarrassment and help them age in place around family and friends.

Be safe! Be well!

Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman is a retired registered nurse and case manager, CEO of Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate and author of From the Lens of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor, and The Black Book of Important Information for Caregivers.

Website: www.cynthiajhick



Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman

Dr. Hickman is the author of From the Lens of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor and The Black Book of Important for Caregivers.