For those who are reaching the later stages of life, one of the areas that can begin to diminish in some cases is memory. This is natural for many people and may show up as a few simple areas of forgetfulness or absentmindedness, but in other cases it may actually be present in the form of a condition like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease that requires specific care from medical professionals.
At Cozy Retire, memory care is just one of the many caring services we provide to our assisted living guests. We assist those with simple age-related memory issues in their daily lives, plus have specific programs for those dealing with dementia and related conditions. As a loved one or caregiver, how can you begin to tell if a senior close to you is dealing with one of these conditions versus basic age-related problems? Here are a few signs that indicate both areas.
Standard Aging Signs
A few areas that may begin taking place for some older people, but don’t necessarily signal the signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s, include:
- General forgetfulness: There are a number of different health conditions besides dementia that can include symptoms of memory loss, such as depression or anxiety for instance. In other cases, these minor issues may have no specific cause whatsoever outside simple aging and the impact it has on the brain. Just because a senior begins forgetting things more often does not mean they necessarily have dementia.
- Transience: Transience refers to when the brain forgets certain memories over time – it’s often actually a good thing for the senior brain, a sign that it’s removing useless memories so it can fit in new ones. The brain doesn’t have unlimited space for memories, after all, especially not for people who have been alive for a long time.
- Absentmindedness: This is an area that speaks more to focus – someone with absentmindedness might forget plans with a friend made earlier that day, for instance, or some other issue that was not at the top of their mind. But again, this is not necessarily a sign of dementia.
Possible Dementia Symptoms
One key sign of dementia-related symptoms is their progressive nature – they may start small, but they will get worse and worse over time. A few of the specific things you may notice that could signal dementia:
- Changes in personality: When memory and brain issues are so significant that they create major changes in personality, this can be a red flag. Many seniors with dementia become more aggravated or aggressive, or perhaps paranoid in some cases.
- Forgetting vital things: While many older adults may forget a few minor things here and there, those with dementia will frequently forget important and deep-seated memories. They may mistake names of close family members and loved ones, or even certain words they once knew.
- General orientation: Particularly in new environments, those with dementia will often appear disoriented or confused. This is often due to insecurity brought on by the dementia itself.
For more on telling the difference between dementia and standard memory issues that come with aging, or to learn about any of our senior living programs, speak to the caring staff at Cozy Retire today.