We have all walked into a room and forgotten why we’re there, and we all have misplaced our keys. But how can you know when these lapses in memory indicate a more serious problem for your loved one? Recognizing the signs of problematic memory loss can be the first step in getting your family member or friend the early diagnosis and support they need.
Today, people living with cognitive decline are diagnosed earlier than they were even a decade ago. Thanks to early diagnosis, adults living with Alzheimer's disease or other dementias can take an active role in future planning and advocate for their wishes. Ultimately, the sooner your loved one has their memory assessed, the sooner they can receive necessary support and plan for their future.
If you are concerned about your loved one and unsure if their memory loss is normal, the first step is to pay close attention to signs that could indicate a problem.
More About Dementia
The Alzheimer’s Association reports that more than 6 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease, although that statistic increases when including other types of dementia.
It is important to note that the risk of dementia increases with age, but dementia is not a normal part of the aging process. Small memory lapses or brief periods of forgetfulness are common, but when those incidents begin to impair daily life, they could signal a more serious issue.
The first sign of dementia family members often notice is memory loss, but other signs and symptoms could indicate a potential dementia diagnosis. Poor judgment and disorganization can also be reasons to make an appointment with a physician. Keep your eyes peeled for symptoms beyond memory loss.
Signs of Memory Loss
People living with dementia are not all the same, meaning they will not all exhibit the same symptoms. However, there are some hallmarks of the early stages of the condition.
Dementia is defined by cognitive decline that affects daily life. For example, misplacing keys occasionally isn’t as worrisome as misplacing them daily. Similarly, forgetting to pay a bill for a few days is not as serious as forgetting to pay a bill for months.
Keep this in mind as you observe these signs in your loved one. If they are experiencing any of these symptoms regularly, it could be time to set up an appointment with their physician:
- Asking the same questions repeatedly
- Misplacing objects regularly
- Forgetting to pay monthly bills
- Neglecting appointments and calendar obligations
- Forgetting words or names while having a conversation
- Struggling to follow multi-step instructions
- Struggling with familiar tasks, such as making dinner or operating the washing machine
What to Do Next
If memory loss affects your loved one’s day-to-day life, the next step is to consult with their physician. Speak candidly about your concerns, and be sure to involve your loved one in the conversation. A physician’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia can give you a place to start in finding education and support.
WesleyLife offers a variety of assistance to those living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, including Adult Day services in Des Moines and Newton. Adult Day ensures individuals who need support during the day receive enriching, personalized programming in a safe environment.
In addition, many WesleyLife Communities for Healthy Living include memory care and support services, offering compassionate, skilled care in homelike settings.
Our communities that offer memory support value the partnership between team members, loved ones, and residents. We encourage all residents with memory challenges to express choice and practice self-determination in meaningful ways.
Homemakers prepare meals, take care of housekeeping, build relationships with residents, and provide support and assistance when needed. Resident schedules are built on personal history and preferences, meaning our team members cater to our residents and not the other way around.
WesleyLife communities that offer memory care and support also involve family members through support groups, educational sessions, and family night events.
Wondering if memory support is a good fit for your loved one? Take the senior living assessment now to determine which option is best.
Post Topic(s): MEMORY SUPPORT