So, your mom misplaced her glasses, forgot her last doctor’s appointment and completely blanked on the name of the person she just met. Forgetting things — important or not — may be annoying, but when your parent is getting older it can be downright scary.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 1 in 10 adults age 65 and older have Alzheimer’s disease, which is a type of dementia, with one person diagnosed every 65 seconds across the United States. Since early intervention is key when it comes to Alzheimer’s, it’s important to recognize when your loved one's forgetfulness is something more serious.
They feel forgetful
Some days it may feel like you’re the one losing your mind. But if your mom, dad, aunt, uncle or any elderly relative says they are feeling more forgetful, and it is happening frequently, you may have cause for concern. According to Fisher Centers for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, current research shows that seniors complaining of memory problems are 4.5 times more likely to develop a mild cognitive impairment or dementia over several years.
If your family member is having a hard time recalling basic information — like their address, phone number, or the name of the current president — this could be a sign of cognitive impairment. Take note when they complain about forgetfulness; if it’s happening more and more frequently, it might be time to consult an aging specialist.
Their sense of time is blurry
It’s normal to wake up in the morning struggling to remember what day of the week it is. But if memory loss problems are negatively impacting your loved one's life, seek the help of a geriatric care professional. This loss of time orientation can be alarming for many reasons. It could lead to your loved one forgetting to take their medications, eat meals, and miss appointments, which will affect their physical and mental health. A memory care community can help with daily living activities.
They’re getting repetitive
Have you noticed your loved one is getting repetitive more often? According to Social Care Institute for Excellence, people experiencing dementia are frequently repetitive in both word and action.
Dementia can affect short-term memory, so those afflicted may say the same thing over and over again, and often in the same conversation. If you’re worried about your loved one’s increasingly repetitive behavior, visit a doctor together to express your concern.
They have difficulty with conversations
Struggling with communication is a common issue for those suffering from a cognitive impairment like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. If your elderly relative is finding it difficult to participate in conversations, or even following them, it could be a sign of something more serious than simple aging.
The Alzheimer’s Association lists the disease’s 10 early signs — one of those signs is forgetting basic vocabulary or calling things by the wrong name. This can make conversations difficult — both for you and your relative. A support group or senior living community can help with communication skills.
They are getting lost
We all get lost from time to time, but if either of your parents are frequently getting lost in places that they are familiar with, that could be a warning sign. Being disoriented can be confusing, frightening, and potentially life-threatening for the elderly.
People with Alzheimer’s can have a hard time retracing their steps, which can make it dangerous for them to go places without assistance. They are also at risk to wander aimlessly. If you are worried about your loved one getting lost, you may want to evaluate their housing and transportation situation.
Simple tasks just aren’t simple anymore
If daily tasks like taking medications, grooming, cooking, driving, and using the bathroom are becoming confusing or overwhelming for your loved one, it may be time to meet with a geriatrician. According to the Mayo Clinic, when simple tasks — like following a recipe — are too difficult or take longer than they should, there may be more than simple aging at play. For those suffering from dementia or other memory loss issues, living on their own may not be safe.
If you are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or other form of memory loss, you know first-hand how difficult caregiving can be. Being in a memory care community will give your loved one the best chance at success and quality of life for their golden years. Consider Legacy Retirement Communities for a secure, caring, and welcoming place to call home.