As people age, it seems quite natural that may have memory lapses. Perhaps they confuse us with our sibling. Forget to show up for an appointment. But how can we tell if it is normal aging or something more serious?
With aging comes dementia. If you are concerned, there are signs you should be aware of. Keep track of these concerns to present to your doctor. It will be helpful when your parent is being assessed.
Signs of Dementia Versus Normal Aging
If you notice some changes repeating themselves, make a note of these behaviors.
1. Poor Judgement- Is this normal aging?
These will be decisions they make that can be harmful. Spending money on useless things. Not dressing appropriately. Not dressing for the weather. Taking risks with their lives or others’.
Has mom forgotten to shut off the stove once? Has it happened a few times? Does it happen all the time? This is the type of behavior you need to record.
2. Failing to Take Care of Themselves
Keep an eye on their hygiene and how they are dressing. Are they clean? How about their clothes? If they are wearing the same clothes day after day, or if the clothes are dirty, make a note.
Check that the house is functioning, as well. Are they keeping up with cleaning the house, cutting the grass, and paying the bills? Check the condition of their dishes and pots and pans. If they are dirty or pans are burnt, they may be forgetting food on the stove.
3. Forgetting Words Could Be Normal Aging or Dementia
Perhaps they are struggling to carry on a conversation. They may forget what something is called and replace it with something else. If mom called a coffee pot an end table, there could be a problem.
They may also forget the names of people. This could be a normal lapse of memory. But if they call you by the wrong name several times or fail to recognize you, you should be concerned.
4. Getting Lost
If someone gets lost or confused in a familiar place, that could be a sign of dementia. Maybe they get lost on their way home from the grocery store. Perhaps they find themselves at the grocery store and are not sure where they are.
They may even find themselves confused in their own kitchen. Forgetting where something is or even where they can be serious signs of dementia. If it seems to be more than simple forgetfulness.
5. Losing Interest in Activities
Another sign they may have dementia is giving up on activities they love. Maybe they stopped doing it or maybe they don’t even remember the even once enjoyed it.
6. Losing Track of Time
If your parent seems to not remember the day or even what month it is. This can also be a sign that it is more serious than aging. Perhaps they are missing holidays, appointments, the year, or even what season it is.
Keep track of these missed appointments and the times they forget the time or the day. If it happens once in a while, you may not need to worry. If it happens regularly, it could be serious.
7. Repeating Themselves
This may be telling you the same story or news every day. If this persists, they may have dementia. Furthermore, if you remind them they told you already, but tell you again later, this is concerning.
If they ask about someone or something all the time and then forget the answer. In particular, if they ask about someone or something that is no longer around.
Forgetting that someone has passed away. Asking about a store or location that hasn’t been there for years. This can be a sign of their memory only working in a particular time period.
Finding Help When It Is Not Normal Aging
Keep track of any of these behaviors you feel are signs of dementia. And make an appointment for them to be assessed. Find someone who specializes in dementia and memory loss.
It can be difficult at first to think your parent may have dementia. Although there is no cure, there are medications and treatments that can prolong their memory.
Brace yourself and your family for their diagnoses. It can be very difficult for the family to adjust. It is much more difficult for the family than it is for the person with dementia.
Caring for someone with dementia requires full-time care. They are not likely to be safe living on their own any longer. They could fall, start a fire, injure themselves or others.
Find a good memory care home in your area. Go in prepared to ask a lot of questions. Ask about the programs and services offered. Make sure you are completely satisfied with them before you send mom in.
Their best hope for a comfortable life with dementia is in the care of professionals.
Memory care homes have trained and experienced staff to take care of all their needs. Get the peace of mind for the entire family when you trust your loved one to a memory care home.
The staff at Sycamore Creek Ranch is proactive. That means we are not waiting for a problem to arise. Instead, we are actively engaged with each and every resident. And with only 16 residents we can do that! Come for a tour at Sycamore Creek Ranch! See how we can help!