When caregivers first begin to notice a change in their loved one’s memory, it is normal for instant worry to set in. With so much information about dementia and related memory diseases readily available, the first thought for caregivers is often the worst.
However, there is a normal progression of age-related memory loss that occurs in most senior adults. For a caregiver, the key is to determine whether or not the symptoms they notice warrant a visit to the doctor.
Age-Related Memory Loss
Age-related memory loss happens to most adults as cognitive function begins to slow with age. However, not all memory loss signs are cause for concern. In fact, many of the adults who experience memory loss have little to worry about. Everyone experiences forgetfulness from time to time. Caregivers are often sensitive to memory loss concerns due to increased awareness about age-related dementia.
It is normal for an adult to forget to pay a bill occasionally. It is also normal for aging adults to rely on memory aids such as notes and calendars. As long as your loved one’s memory loss is not affecting the daily activities of their life, then you are more than likely dealing with age-related memory loss.
According to the CDC, Dementia is an umbrella term to describe the inability to remember things. There are a number of conditions that fall under the category of dementia, but Alzheimer’s disease is the single most common condition for adults over the age of 65. Diagnosis of dementia requires medical tests.
Dementia is not considered to be a typical experience for aging adults. Memories and knowledge gained over life will never be affected by age-related memory loss. There are many different symptoms that caregivers may notice if dementia is beginning to occur.
The biggest indicator of dementia is when memory issues begin to occur that disrupt daily life and activities. For example, it is normal for a senior adult to forget to pay bills occasionally. However, when a senior adult forgets multiple bills, misses a recurring payment, or even has negative financial repercussions (collections, utility shut-off), then there is significant evidence that dementia may be a concern.
When to Contact a Doctor
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are a number of medical interventions that prevent the worsening of memory loss in dementia patients. For this reason, it is important to schedule an appointment for your senior as soon as memory loss concerns begin to appear.
Although there are medical explanations that consider some memory loss normal for aging adults, it is still a good idea to see a doctor. The key to preventing the progression of dementia-related memory loss is catching the issue as early as possible.
Watching a loved one struggle with memory loss is scary. The good news is that medical advancements have made it easier for doctors to diagnose and treat memory-related issues. Remain calm and contact your senior’s doctor if you ever feel worried about their memory or cognitive function. Remember that home care is available to help your senior handle issues with their memory, including remembering what medications they have taken or need to take, when they last ate or need to eat next, when to attend doctor’s appointments, and more. Home care is invaluable to maintaining your senior’s independence as long as possible if they have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
If you or an aging loved one is considering home care in Leesburg, VA, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands today. (703) 782-3655
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