When to Be Concerned About Your Senior’s Forgetfulness
Things like forgetting where you put your keys or paying a bill are typically signs of mild forgetfulness, which is indicative of normal aging rather than a serious memory problem. But if you are noticing more frequent episodes of forgetfulness in your senior loved one, or their memory loss is putting them or others in danger, this simple forgetfulness that they used to chalk up to getting older may now be morphing into a legitimate concern.
If you have some concerns about your loved one’s ability to remain at home alone due to increased memory loss, Alzheimer’s home care can give you peace of mind.
Normal Forgetfulness vs. Serious Memory Problems
It can be difficult to determine what’s a part of normal aging and forgetfulness, and what is a sign of something more serious that could be the early stages of Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia.
In a nutshell, serious memory problems make it tough to accomplish everyday tasks such as driving and shopping, says the National Institute on Aging. Have you noticed your loved one has been:
- Repeatedly asking the same questions?
- Getting lost in places that used to be familiar, such as your home, the grocery store or church?
- Finding it hard to follow simple instructions?
- Getting confused about what time it is, or about people and places?
- Forgetting common words when speaking?
- Mixing up words, such as interchanging “chair” and “bed”?
- Taking longer to finish familiar tasks, like following a recipe?
- Misplacing items in inappropriate places, such as putting eyeglasses in the freezer?
- Experiencing sudden mood or behavior changes?
If you have noticed any of the above, encourage them to call their doctor and set up an appointment. Their doctor can run some tests to see if they indeed have memory or cognitive problems that warrant a closer look. There could be other causes of the behavior, which should be ruled out first.
Dementia and Aging
Contrary to popular belief, dementia is not a normal part of aging, but rather relates to significant problems with memory and cognitive ability such as pertaining to language or reasoning, points out the American Psychological Association. Dementia can be brought on by Alzheimer’s disease, stroke or Parkinson’s disease, and doubles in prevalence to 50 percent of people over the age of 85.
Dementia includes the loss of cognitive functioning (how we think, recall things, learn and reason), as well as behavioral abilities that interfere with quality of life and daily activities. Memory loss isn’t the only sign of dementia, though. Your loved one may have issues with visual perception, language skills, attention span, or personality changes.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia in those over 65, although there are many other types.
Not sure if what you’re seeing in your senior loved one qualifies as memory loss? They may need a referral to a neuropsychologist, who can diagnose, treat and manage individuals with dementia. They can also plan appropriate cognitive, psychological, and behavioral interventions, and train your senior in how they can improve daily function.
Hiring at home care can also help fill in the gaps when you can’t be there to ensure they don’t forget to take their medications, eat or bathe.
Contact Preferred HealthStaff
If you have been growing concerned about your senior loved one’s forgetfulness and would feel more comfortable hiring senior home care services to help with memory care and daily tasks, contact us toll free at 866-943-9791 or in Fairfield 717-642-8500. Our staff is trained in all aspects of memory care.