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Memory Decline in the Elderly: Is it a Cause for Concern?

Granddaughter and grandmother looking at photo albumWhile there are still a lot of people who can maintain energy, mental acuity, and independence despite old age, there are also those who experience increased frailty and chronic illness. If the latter is true for an elderly loved one, it is only normal to worry about their health and start to wonder if they need caregiving or home health care services.

If an elderly parent, for instance, is showing signs of mental decline, it pays to differentiate the normal aspects of age-related memory loss from dementia. As forgetfulness is a common issue among the aging population, you need to know if these memory lapses are cause for concern. This is especially true if the memory problems negatively affect the way a loved one to the things they have always done.

Forgetting names of new acquaintances or occasionally forgetting where things like key and glasses are left are NOT signs of serious mental deterioration. If the memory lapses, however, affect a person’s ability to do what they want to do, it may indicate something serious. Bloomington senior home health care service providers note that debilitating decline in memory, judgment, language, and intellectual ability may indicate dementia.

Here are some of the things you need to take note of when determining whether an elderly loved one is experiencing normal memory decline or a serious memory problem:

Physical and Mental Changes

Adult with normal memory changes can still function independently and take care of themselves in spite of occasional forgetfulness. It can be something serious, however, if they experience difficulty in accomplishing simple tasks like washing up, dressing the right way, and paying bills. You should also know that anxiety or depression is not normal part of aging; it needs to be addressed.

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Misuse of Medications

If your parent is taking prescribed medication, they should be able to remember what they are taking when they need to take it. If you notice expired prescriptions at the house and misuse of such medications, it is best to voice out your concern or have your parent see a doctor.

Out-of-the-Ordinary Forgetfulness

It is common for older people to pause while remembering places or directions. If your parent, however, cannot follow directions or usually get lost even in familiar places, they could have dementia. It is also a cause for concern if your loved one has trouble making decisions or behaves in inappropriate ways.

It is best to observe your loved one and take note of unusual memory lapses. You can then accompany them to a healthcare provider to determine if they have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Then, you can take proactive steps to provide the most suitable type of care for them.

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