“What day is it?” “Who is the person you were just talking to?” “Where did I put my keys, now?” These may all sound like common questions a parent or loved one may ask, but there is one very distinct difference – some are signs of normal aging, and some are signs of memory loss. “One of the most common questions we get is how do you tell the difference between normal aging and memory loss,” says Dawn Joaquin, Community Relations Director at YourLife™ of Coconut Creek, a Memory Care community in Coconut Creek, Florida. “The truth is, it varies from person to person and no case is ever exactly the same. It’s important to determine if your loved one is dealing with signs of aging or memory loss for their safety, the sake of education and to help manage symptoms as early as possible. This being said, there are a lot of factors to look out for, but with help, guidance and understanding, the journey can be made simpler.”
Early Warning Signs of Memory Loss in Seniors
To help guide you through this difficult time, we’ve broken down some of the top indicators of early memory loss as outlined by the Alzheimer’s Association®.
- Disruption of everyday life. Did your loved one just meet someone and already forget who they are? Did they get invited to an event they’d usually remember but totally forgot? If your loved one needs to be reminded of things, suddenly needs written reminders or repeats themselves, they may be dealing with a form of memory loss, especially if they don’t remember this information later on in the day.
- Issues planning or problem-solving. Is your mom having trouble following recipes? Can your dad no longer plan events? Is budgeting becoming an issue? Be sure to keep a close eye on your loved one as this is a common sign of memory loss.
- Difficulty completing tasks. This is where memory loss can get a little scary. Is your loved one taking longer than usual to get home after driving? Are they getting lost on their way home from familiar places? It’s crucial to make a note of these events because their safety could be at risk.
- Confusion with time or place. Many seniors who are dealing with memory loss begin to have this problem. Oftentimes it’s the main clue as to if a loved one is dealing with dementia versus normal aging. If your loved one is losing track of dates, times, seasons or becomes unsure how they got to a specific place, call their doctor and make an appointment.
- Withdrawal and changes in personality. It becomes more common as memory loss progresses for seniors to become more agitated, lose interest in things they once loved and develop depression. This may be because they are starting to think memory loss might be the problem or be embarrassed about all the changes that are taking place. If you notice this happening with your loved one, try to encourage them to continue their hobbies and reassure them that you love them.
- Misplacing items. This is often a sign of both normal age-related changes and memory loss. The key difference in this circumstance is that those with memory loss are unable to retrace their steps and can potentially lose that item for an extended period of time. If your loved one begins accusing others of stealing, make sure to call their doctor as suspicion is a glaring hint that memory loss may be the culprit.
- Poor judgment. When telemarketers call, do you notice your loved one is all too quick to give them money? Is their bank account full of suspicious transactions? Those with memory loss often make a prime target for scammers as they can be gullible, and judgment can be impaired. Seniors are already a prime target, so protect your loved one by monitoring their finances, putting their phone number on the do-not-call list and reporting any suspicious activity.
Although this can be a very stressful time and you may be afraid to reach out for help, it’s important to realize you are not alone. To learn more about the signs of memory loss, to educate yourself on the different forms, or to join a support group, contact our team. We would be happy to provide you with expert advice, support and assistance. Call us today at 954-228-6252.
Inspiring Memory Care Designed for You. Defined by You.
YourLife™ of Coconut Creek was created to provide the most exceptional Memory Care and uplifting lifestyle for our residents. We focus all our energy, attention and resources to creating a community that caters to each resident’s personal needs, respects their choices and honors individuality, while providing unequaled peace of mind and support for families. Because Memory Care is our sole focus, we have the unique ability to design and personally tailor plans around our residents. We understand that each resident is an individual that has their own story, specific needs and retained abilities, so we develop personally inspired care plans that value and support each person’s independence. Our team of attentive, caring YourLife™ Personal Care Specialists are on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide assistance with everyday activities, gentle reminders and redirection. With YourStory, our signature programming, we create an individual experience centered around each resident. From cultural, educational and holistic health and wellness programming, outings and an array of other special events to personal care, assistance and therapies, we create days with meaning. At YourLife™ of Coconut Creek, our residents and families know that this is a community designed for you, with a lifestyle defined by you. Contact us to learn more! Call us at 954-228-6252 for more information or to schedule a personal visit today.