If you are fortunate enough to have a parent who is in their senior years, you may have noticed a few changes in their personality and memory function. If you are worried that they are suffering from dementia or if it is just a sign of natural aging, here are a few things to keep in mind on being able to tell the difference.
While this guide is meant to be helpful, a doctor is best for determining an exact diagnosis. If your loved one does indeed have dementia, a memory care center is often the best option.
Typical Age-Related Signs
These are some of the signs of normal aging and are not necessarily an indication of memory loss, dementia, or a sign of Alzheimer's Disease.
- Forgetfulness or Absent Mindedness. A loved one simply being forgetful is not indicative of a larger problem. For instance, your loved one misplaces their keys or forgets an appointment with the doctor are simply signs of aging and typical of what many seniors experience.
- Transience. Transience is defined as decreasing accessibility of memory over time and is normal with aging. In simple terms, it just means that someone cannot remember things like they used to.
- Blocking. This is a temporary inability to remember something like mixing up a family member's name. When you hear someone say, "It's on the tip of my tongue," that is called Blocking.
Both of these conditions are what can happen as someone gets older, especially in senior years. A few specific examples include:
- Occasionally trying to find the right word or words or forgetting a certain word temporarily
- When finding familiar places the individual knows how to get there but may need a moment to pause and think
- Forgetting a doctor's appointment
- Misplacing an item
Signs That May Be Indicative of Dementia
The following signs do not necessarily mean someone is suffering from dementia but are the common symptoms and should be important to know if you are concerned about a loved one.
- Disorientation. Some of the examples of disorientation is a loved one not knowing where they are, taking hours to return home from a nearby trip (to the doctor or store), and getting lost in familiar territory.
- Personality Changes. Another indicator of a potential problem is personality changes. Your loved one may become paranoid, impulsive, or aggressive to others.
- Forgetfulness. In this case, it is more serious than common forgetfulness. A person who may be suffering from dementia often forgets important information like the names of friends or loved ones or the inability to remember certain words. This should not be confused with simply forgetting where someone put their keys or calling an older child by the younger child's name.
Examples of common aging issues include:
- Complains of memory problems only if specifically asked and cannot recall instances when memory loss was noticeable
- Making frequent word-finding pauses and substitutions
- Recent memory for events and ability to converse are both noticeably impaired.
Heritage Village offers specialized care villas for seniors with memory loss. It is a unique setup where residents do not feel as if they are in a hospital or assisted living facility. Rather, there are villas set up that connect by a breezeway that opens up into a lovely garden and courtyard with an area for picnics.
You want to give your loved ones the best care possible. Contact us for more information on our dedication to providing compassionate care in a community style environment where your loved one will feel right at home. Or, if you plan to be in the area, feel free to schedule a tour.