Increased memory impairment as people age isn’t uncommon. In fact, the World Health Organization found that nearly 10 million new cases of dementia are diagnosed every year and that dementia is one of the largest reasons seniors become dependent on loved ones and support staff worldwide.
While assisted living communities offer a variety of services and amenities, they may not be equipped to handle the growing needs of your loved one. Here are five common signs of increased memory impairments that can indicate it’s time to start the transition to memory care.
An early symptom of dementia is trouble with memory – and most often, with short-term memory. Does your parent remember the details of an event from 25 years ago but can’t recall what they ate for breakfast?
Other signs that short-term memory is starting to affect your loved one may include an increase in forgetfulness – forgetting where they put something or walking into a room and forgetting why they are there.
Does mom or dad have a growing struggle with remembering names or everyday topics like days of the week? Do they have difficulty reading or working with numbers?
Those with dementia also have trouble following or joining a conversation and may stop in the middle of talking, repeat themselves or take longer to finish what they’re saying.
A key indicator of dementia is changes in mood. It’s common for those with dementia to become particular about their routines and the way they do things – and to become irritable when their days stray from the norm. In general, they may also become confused, suspicious, agitated or even fearful. Dementia alters judgment, which can also lead to personality changes. For example, someone who is usually reserved and shy may become outgoing and enjoy talking to strangers as their dementia progresses.
It may seem obvious, but confusion is a large part of dementia and can happen for many reasons. Confusion can arise when your loved one can no longer remember faces or find the right words to say. It can happen when judgement of time and place is compromised. Even forgetfulness – forgetting where you are or what you’re doing – can lead to confusion.
A person with dementia may ask the same questions after they’ve been answered because they are unable to remember they just asked the question. Other repetitive habits could revolve around activities – obsessively collecting items or repeating a daily task multiple times.
If you’ve noticed your loved one is developing signs of dementia, it may be time to make the transition to a memory care community. These communities offer all the services and amenities of assisted living, with the addition of services catered toward those with memory impairments, including:
Many families face the same challenges you may be experiencing. If you’re unsure where to begin, our simple survey will help you understand which living option may be best for your aging loved one. Take our survey here.