As an individual ages, their body experiences many changes that can make life more challenging. Elderly individuals throughout the country often experience a wide range of physical discomforts, from reduced energy levels, aches and pains, and diminished strength and flexibility. However, most elderly Americans report greater concerns over the mental effects of aging.
It’s inevitable for most people to experience some form of cognitive decline with old age. Cognitive decline manifests in many different ways, sometimes affecting a person gradually over many years, while others appear to suffer sudden onsets of complex symptoms. Ultimately, any type of cognitive decline is disruptive to the individual’s life and potentially dangerous. If you have an elderly loved one, it is vital to know the first signs of cognitive decline and the value of a Lakewood memory care facility if your family is unable to provide constant in-home care for your loved one.
Common Signs of Cognitive Decline
There is no single formula that will work for every individual when it comes to determining when cognitive decline has begun. This process does not always begin at the same age, and it is important for the family members of any elderly individual to know the early signs of cognitive decline. A few of the most commonly reported early symptoms of cognitive decline include:
- Memory impairment. Memory is one of the first mental faculties affected by cognitive decline. If your loved one has trouble remembering names, dates, or the faces of familiar friends and family, it’s vital to consider memory care.
- Mood changes. When an elderly individual starts to experience cognitive decline, it can be distressing and frustrating. Some have trouble communicating their concerns to family, while others may display changes in their mood and demeanor. If you notice an elderly loved one seems withdrawn, depressed, or frustrated without a clear reason, this could be an emotional response to cognitive decline.
- Medical complications caused by forgetting to take necessary medications or injuries sustained from an apparent lack of awareness or coordination. It’s possible for an elderly individual to sustain injuries in many ways, and once cognitive decline has appeared, their family must take steps to prevent them from injuring themselves.
- Confusion and difficulty making decisions. If an elderly relative who formerly handled decision-making well and was alert and responsive during conversation suddenly has trouble keeping track of a conversation, becomes disoriented or lost in familiar places, or otherwise struggles with basic decision-making, it is important to acknowledge these issues as potential signs of cognitive decline.
Remember that cognitive decline can present in very unpredictable ways. While many people will display signs of cognitive decline gradually over time, this issue may also appear suddenly. It’s vital to recognize the early signs of cognitive decline in a family member, so you have the best chance of arranging the professional care they need to sustain a positive quality of life. Rocky Mountain Assisted Living provides various forms of elder care and assisted living services, including memory care programs that are individually tailored to each of our residents. If you are concerned about an elderly family member’s memory or other cognitive abilities, we can provide guidance and support for addressing the situation.
Q: What Is One of the First Signs of Cognitive Decline?
A: Cognitive decline can manifest in many different ways, and every individual who experiences it will display diminished mental abilities. Some may display signs of memory loss, confusion, or changes in their mood. Memory impairment is usually the first noticeable sign of cognitive decline, and the individual may have trouble remembering the names of friends and family, or they might forget important dates and events.
Q: When Should I Be Worried About Cognitive Decline?
A: If you suspect an elderly loved one has started to experience cognitive decline, it is important to be vigilant for any sudden worsening of symptoms or the appearance of new symptoms. There is no specific age when cognitive decline specifically becomes a major concern; people can begin to experience cognitive decline unexpectedly, but the risk increases with age. If a loved one is displaying signs of significant memory impairment or difficulty thinking, it is vital to get them the help they need to avoid serious medical complications or potentially harmful accidents.
Q: When Does Cognitive Decline Usually Start?
A: Cognitive decline may manifest any time after midlife, but the majority of people who experience mental decline will start displaying noticeable symptoms after the age of 70. It is important to remember that not only does cognitive decline affect everyone differently, but it also can present with an unpredictable array of symptoms. Some experience cognitive decline very gradually, while others experience a very sudden and noticeable onset of complex symptoms.
Q: What Is the Five-Word Test for Memory?
A: If you have elderly loved ones and are concerned about memory and cognitive decline, the Five-Word Test is a semantic word test that can help you track your loved one’s condition. A doctor will ask the patient to remember five simple words, typically chosen at random. Then, after some time has passed, the doctor will ask the patient to repeat the five words back to them.
Q: When Does Memory Care Become Necessary for a Senior?
A: When you are concerned about an elderly loved one’s cognitive decline, it is important to know when professional help will be necessary. Once your loved one’s condition worsens to the point that it interferes with their daily life or they have trouble completing necessary daily tasks, such as remembering to eat and take medication, it’s vital that you start to consider the potential value of memory care.
Confronting the fact that your elderly loved one may need professional memory care is a difficult situation, but it is vital that you do not delay in seeking the treatment they need to continue living life to its fullest. Rocky Mountain Assisted Living offers a variety of memory care and assisted living services in Lakewood and the surrounding communities of Colorado, and we can provide the guidance and support you need to address your loved one’s cognitive decline. Contact us today for more information about our services and learn how we can help your family.