Everyone is forgetful at times in their life. Forgetting you just took something off the shelf, looking for glasses that are on your head, or being unable to remember where you put the car keys are just signs of being busy and hurried in life.
As we age, we do become increasingly more forgetful. Over half of the people who are over the age of 65 say that they seem to forget things more easily than when they were younger. But having a “senior moment” is very different than the serious diagnosis of dementia, which can include Alzheimer’s disease. Learning the difference between the two can help you understand the signs and symptoms of dementia.
Questions to Help Identify Signs of Dementia
Oftentimes, answering a few common questions can help indicate whether the signs and symptoms that your loved one is displaying are part of the normal aging process, or if there may be a more serious memory problem.
- Do reminders work? We all forget names, dates, places, and what is on our “to-do” list from time-to-time. If you are able to set out reminders that prompt your loved one to remember, their short lapse in memory is likely just part of the aging process. However, if you are actively supporting your loved one to remember names and dates, and the reminders do not work, it could be a sign of dementia.
- Can they recall memories? While some of the details of our memories may be fuzzy years later, we can usually still recall that we went to an event or did an activity, especially if it was significant in our lives. If you are trying to reminisce with your loved one about a specific memory, and they have absolutely no recollection of it, that could be a sign of dementia.
- Is there a pattern or repetition of forgetfulness? If you forget something once, that is normal. If your elderly loved one must continually ask how to use a telephone, or what someone’s name is, then it may be a sign of something more serious, such as dementia.
- Can they complete daily tasks? Barring physical limitations, your loved one should be able to perform normal daily tasks such as bathing, cleaning, preparing food, paying bills, and dressing, even with a bit of forgetfulness. If your loved one is unable to perform these simple daily tasks, this may be a sign of dementia as well.
- How do they react to stress? Even when under extreme stress, people typically do not forget their loved ones or friends. If your elderly parent or loved one reacts uncharacteristically to stress — mentally, emotionally or physically — it could be a sign of dementia.
Forgetfulness is Not Dementia, But It May be a Sign
Dementia is not just simple forgetfulness. It is also important to note that some memory loss can be a symptom of a medical condition such as a head injury, tumor, blood clot, thyroid, kidney, or liver disorder. If you are concerned about your elderly loved one, speak with their healthcare professional.
If your loved one needs assistance in a supportive and home-like environment, our team at Rocky Mountain Assisted Living would be happy to meet with you and schedule a tour. Whether your aged family member is in the beginning or later stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s, Rocky Mountain Assisted Living can help.
Our memory care services are designed to help seniors better cope with the challenges that come with these serious conditions. We are here to help you and your elderly loved one. Please call us at (303) 835-9265 or visit us online today.