It can be easy to dismiss the early signs of memory impairment in older loved ones as part of the aging process. While aging can have effects on memory, such as forgetfulness, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia exhibit more distinguished signs. Essential to the health of your older family members is your ability to differentiate between forgetfulness and something more severe.
Fortunately, there are memory care services that are available for those in need of assistance. Brickmont Assisted Living, with senior care communities throughout Atlanta, offers memory care to those living with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia. We understand that receiving an Alzheimer's diagnosis can be difficult, and we offer support and care to those families. We're sharing ways to recognize memory impairments in your older family members.
When is it More Than Forgetfulness?
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “there are 10 warning signs and symptoms. If you notice any of them, don't ignore them. Schedule an appointment with your doctor.” The following are the 10 warning signs for you to be aware that an older loved one may be living with memory impairment.
Memory Loss That Disrupts daily Life
The first sign of memory impairment can often be confused with forgetfulness. What distinguishes between the two is when the memory loss becomes so severe that it causes serious consequences in your older loved one’s life. Forgetting important dates, how to operate everyday utensils, and even continually forgetting what is happening in the moment are all significant enough signs to schedule an appointment with a doctor for your loved one.
Planning or Problem-Solving Challenges
When simple planning for the day or how to prepare a meal becomes a struggle, it can be a red flag for memory impairment. Other issues that would fit in this category are solving simple math problems or forgetting how daily activities are performed.
Trouble Completing Tasks
If your older loved one is having difficulty completing day-to-day tasks, it could mean that they are in need of senior services, such as memory care. In some cases, your loved one may be experiencing issues with mobility, in which case home care or assisted living may be the preferred option.
Confusion with Setting and Time
Losing track of time can happen to anyone of any age, but it can be concerning in certain situations. If your family member is forgetting the day, the date, or where they are it could be a sign of memory impairment.
Trouble Recognizing Visual Images
Difficulty differentiating colors with no prior issues or misjudging spatial distances can relate to Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. However, it can also be a sign of cataracts or different visions issues. In both cases, make an appointment with your loved one’s doctor.
Noticing the senior in your life stopping mid-sentence, forgetting what they are discussing, or struggling with vocabulary and pronunciation can be a warning sign. Old age may cause seniors to have trouble finding the correct word in a conversation, but forgetting it entirely can mean something more severe.
Everyone loses their keys sometimes and getting older may cause seniors to misplace things more frequently. If misplacing items becomes a daily reoccurrence, then losing items can signify a more severe issue.
A senior that is living with memory impairment tends to pull away from social activities, hobbies, or projects. The reasons they pull away can be from forgetting how to interact or feeling frequent confusion in various situations. Be sure to check in regularly with your older loved one and inquire if they are keeping up with their book club or golf games.
Having decreased or poor judgment with finances or daily tasks are examples of your older loved one experiencing more than just forgetfulness. It is essential to react to this situation quickly and protect the senior in your life from scams or fraud. This situation may lead to you or another loved one adopting power of attorney, which can take some time.
Extreme Changes in Personality
When it is more than your family member being grumpy, you will know. Extreme swings in mood or personality are early signs of cognitive impairment. When mood swings become apparent, it may mean that your older loved one is feeling confused or frightened.
If your parent or family member has been showcasing one or more of these signs, do not just pass it off as merely age. These can all be signs of memory impairment and should be discussed with a licensed professional.
If your older loved one does have a more severe condition, there are options. At Brickmont Assisted Living, we are proud to offer valuable memory care services for seniors. If you would like to learn more, contact us today!