With age comes changes throughout the body. You may find your abdominal area spreads. Your vision changes. Your skin becomes drier. Older adults also find that age-related forgetfulness starts happening. Simple things become harder to remember. Recalling the password to an account you only access monthly or remembering where you set down the car keys gets harder.
How can you tell when age-related forgetfulness isn't just related to aging? How can you tell when that forgetfulness is actually a sign of dementia?
Differences Between Dementia and Age-Related Forgetfulness
How can you tell when your forgetfulness is normal and when it isn't? It comes down to what your parents are forgetting and how often it happens.
Your dad forgot to pay a bill. He's never forgotten a bill before so you're concerned. One missed payment isn't a big deal. It happens. He may have been distracted by other things. If he's missing payments every month, it may be a sign of dementia. If he has reminders in place and still misses payments, it's a stronger sign.
Your mom forgot where she put down the car keys when she came in with groceries. That's normal. If she forgot and starts finding them in weird places, it could be dementia. Sometimes, people with Alzheimer's will have a disconnect happen and put things in odd places. If she misplaces the car keys and later finds them in a box of cereal, you'd have to question why she put them there.
People often fail to come up with a person's name. They may forget a specific word when they need it to come to mind. If your mom is struggling to hold a conversation with others or start saying garbled sentences that seem logical to her at the time, it could be a problem.
Your dad is at the store and needs to write the date, but he can't immediately recall the date and has to think about it, that's normal. If he cannot get the date after thinking about it for a bit, specifically if he cannot recall the year or season, it's more concerning.
See a Doctor
If you have concerns that dementia is present, it's best to talk to a memory care specialist. Take your mom or dad for an assessment. If there are signs that dementia is present, narrowing down the type of dementia is important. Your mom or dad could take medications to help slow or manage some of the symptoms.
Senior care helps adults age at home after a dementia diagnosis. Moving your mom or dad to a memory care community isn't urgent yet. With reminders to take prescriptions, someone preparing meals, and someone handling transportation, your parent can age at home. Call a senior care agency to discuss these services and their costs.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE IS CONSIDERING SENIOR CARE IN KNIGHTDALE, NC, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT SENIORS HELPING SENIORS TODAY. CALL (919) 761-5346.