With the aging process, individuals typically begin to experience slight changes in their cognitive abilities over time, including increased forgetfulness or memory loss. We all know that occasional forgetfulness becomes more common for many as we age. While occasional instances of forgetting are normal for aging adults, those with dementia tend to forget more often, particularly recently learned information.
Aging adults may experience a modest decline in spontaneous word finding (taking longer to get words out), whereas people showing signs of dementia may forget several words at a time or substitute unusual words, making it difficult to understand speech or writing. While it’s normal for multitasking to become harder, or for complex tasks to take more time, for those with dementia, it may be too difficult to plan or complete their daily tasks.
Aging adults may gradually start to process information more slowly over time, which causes a delay in recalling names, dates or past events. Rather than this expected delay, individuals showing early signs of cognitive deficits may be unable to recall the more recent details of an event or even their immediate surroundings. Causes for concern include frequently misplacing objects, not knowing the name of objects, forgetting names and places without recall, having difficulty using the right words or becoming lost in familiar surroundings.
Often times, it is very hard for people experiencing memory issues to recognize their problems while those around them are understandably concerned. By contrast, an older adult experiencing normal forgetfulness or “senior moments” tends to recognize their own lack of recall. Keep in mind that memory issues develop gradually, worsening over time. So, if a sudden change in memory loss occurs, it could be linked to another medical condition which may need immediate attention.
Signs of Dementia
Experts typically suggest that when memory loss prevents someone from performing daily tasks and accustomed roles in life, it’s time to consult a physician for further evaluation. Because dementia is a clinical diagnosis, a clinician needs to merge all of the information from the patient examination, family history, lab results and brain scans in order to diagnose your loved one.
Here are additional indicators for dementia:
- An overall disheveled appearance
- Disregard for personal cleanliness
- Difficulty with food preparation
- Changes in appetite and food preferences
- Alcohol abuse
- Loss of reasoning and judgment skills
- Problems with managing finances
- Stacks of mail and unpaid bills
- Pets being neglected or overfed/underfed
- Lack of interest in friends or activities
- Forgetfulness or loss of short-term memory
- Differences in sleep habits
- Inability to safely manage medications
Is Your Loved One’s Memory Loss A Cause For Concern
If your loved one is showing several of the above signs, you should consider seeking help from medical professionals. The time may come that you decide to seek assistance for your loved one with memory loss. At Silver Creek, you’ll find quality dementia care at a premier community with a focus on person-centered care – where your loved one can experience a healthier, more fulfilling lifestyle.