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Socrates A. Garrigos, MD, PA

Diagnosing and Managing Dementia: What Every Adult Should Know

Aug 16, 2023
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Is dementia a topic that concerns you or your loved ones? Discover the essential information about diagnosing and managing dementia, and learn how you can improve the quality of life for those affected.

Living in an aging society, it is essential to have a comprehensive understanding of dementia, its diagnosis, and management. Whether you are personally affected or have loved ones who are, navigating the challenges of dementia requires knowledge and preparedness. 

Board-certified internal medicine physician Socrates A. Garrigos, MD, PA, and his team of experts in geriatric care are here to help you debunk common misconceptions, outline the diagnostic process, and explore effective strategies for managing dementia. Located in McAllen, Texas, our team specializes in diagnosing dementia and finding the right treatment plan for your specific needs.

In the meantime, we’ll cover the crucial information that every adult should be aware of when it comes to dementia.

Understanding dementia 

Dementia is a term used to describe a group of conditions characterized by a decline in cognitive abilities that affects daily functioning. It is not a specific disease but rather a syndrome resulting from various underlying causes, such as Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, or frontotemporal dementia. 

Dementia can manifest as memory loss, difficulty with language and communication, impaired judgment, and changes in behavior and personality. It is important to understand that dementia is not a normal part of the aging process, and timely diagnosis and management can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals affected by this condition.

Knowing the signs of dementia and seeking help  

Recognizing the signs of dementia is crucial for early intervention and effective management. If you or your loved one experience any of the following top three signs, it is essential to seek medical help:

Memory loss

Memory loss is one of the most common and noticeable signs of dementia. Individuals may have difficulty remembering recent events, important dates, or appointments. They may also struggle to recall names or faces of familiar people or objects. Persistent and worsening memory problems should not be dismissed as a normal part of aging.

Confusion and disorientation

Individuals with dementia may feel lost in familiar places, struggle with directions, or become disoriented in time and space. They may have difficulty recognizing familiar landmarks, finding their way home, or remembering where they are going. Disorientation can also extend to time, with individuals losing track of days, months, or even years.

Language problems 

Language difficulties in dementia can include trouble finding words, frequent pauses and searching for vocabulary, difficulty following conversations and staying on topic, and trouble understanding what others are saying. These challenges can lead to frustration, isolation, and significant impacts on social interactions and daily functioning as the disease progresses.

Strategies for managing dementia 

While there is currently no cure for dementia, the following strategies and approaches can help manage the symptoms and improve the quality of life for individuals living with the condition:


Depending on the type and stage of dementia, medications may be prescribed to help manage symptoms such as memory loss, confusion, agitation, and depression. These medications can slow down the progression of the disease and improve cognitive function.

Lifestyle modifications 

Adopting a healthy lifestyle can have a positive impact on managing dementia. We recommend regular physical exercise, social interaction, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep. Engaging in mentally stimulating activities, such as puzzles, reading, or learning a new skill, can help maintain cognitive function as well. 

Structured routines

Establishing a daily routine can provide structure and familiarity, which can help reduce anxiety and confusion. Maintain consistent schedules for meals, medication, and activities to promote a sense of stability.

Environmental modifications

Making certain modifications to the living environment can enhance safety and independence for individuals with dementia. Remove potential hazards, ensure good lighting, and use visual cues or labels to help with orientation. Install safety features such as handrails and grab bars to prevent falls.

Memory aids

Memory aids can be valuable tools for individuals with dementia. Use calendars, clocks, and reminder apps to help with daily tasks, appointments, and medication schedules. Label drawers and cabinets to assist with finding items.

Remember, the strategies for managing dementia may vary depending on the individual's unique needs and the stage of the disease. Regular communication with Dr. Garrigos and our team of experts can help ensure that you or your loved one receives personalized care and guidance every step of the way.

If you’re ready to implement these strategies and learn more about dementia, call our office at 956-683-0404 or use the online booking tool on our website to schedule your appointment today.