It’s (almost) the most wonderful time of the year! With the holidays right around the corner, many families are planning special visits to see the grandparents.
Visiting aging parents is a great opportunity to not only make memories, but to check in on their physical and mental well-being. While we know 2020 has been an unusual year, it’s important to know what behaviors are most likely to be normal patterns of aging, and which ones may be an indicator of something more serious. Here are six signs that your loved one may be struggling with memory issues.
Occasionally forgetting someone’s name is not unusual – especially if you’re a parent of several children! However, if your parent is constantly forgetting names of close friends or family members, this could be an early sign of dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Misplacing Common Items
Everyone misplaces their keys from time to time, but if you notice your loved one regularly misplacing daily items – or if you find items in unusual places – it may be more than a little forgetfulness.
Daily Hygiene Struggles
When memory challenges come into play, an older adult might lose track of time. This can cause them to unintentionally forego regular hygiene such as bathing, brushing their teeth, or combing their hair. If you notice your parent forgetting basic daily care practices, this may be a sign that something more serious is going on.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s patients are at risk of weight loss for several reasons: they may forget to eat; their palate may change, making certain foods unpleasant; and they may have issues with chewing and swallowing. In addition, memory challenges cause stress and anxiety, and these individuals may spend time pacing or wandering.
However, certain medications can also affect weight, so it’s important to get a professional assessment to determine what is causing the weight loss.
Balance & Mobility Issues
Conditions that affect memory also impact other parts of the brain, which can lead to balance or mobility challenges. You may notice your loved one’s home is messier than usual, or that they struggle with certain tasks. They may also shuffle when walking, stumble often, or hold on to railings, chairs or furniture for better balance.
Changes in Mood or Behavior
Alzheimer’s and dementia not only affect memory, they can also cause an individual to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression. If your loved one suddenly experiences mood swings, seems agitated often, struggles with problem solving or planning, or has a marked difference in personality, these may be signs of a deeper issue.
While one symptom isn’t a cause for concern, noticing several of these characteristics in a loved one is a sign to take action. It’s important to determine exactly what is causing mental impairment, so begin by scheduling an assessment with your parent’s doctor.
Tribute is helping to change lives with our innovative approach to memory care and assisted living. Our holistic programs incorporate nutrition, physical fitness, and neurobics and more to ensure residents regain lost abilities and live life to the fullest.