According to the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) around 7 percent of people who are in their early 60s have mild cognitive impairment. That number goes up to 38 percent in people aged 85 and older. That’s why the AAN is urging medical providers to conduct a memory check as part of all older adults’ annual checkups. By evaluating memory every year, doctors can not only identify when a problem exists, but also watch for progression of memory and thinking skills into dementia. If your older family member has not had a memory check recently, you may wish to talk to their doctor about conducting one. In the meantime, if you’re concerned about whether their existing memory issues indicate the presence of dementia, it can be helpful to know what the early signs of dementia are. Below are some early signs that may indicate dementia in your older family member.
Some degree of forgetfulness is normal with aging. For example, you might notice the older adult sometimes forgets a name or that they have an appointment scheduled, but then they remember it later. However, if they consistently forget important dates or events, ask the same questions over and over, or need to rely on memory aids, like notes, they may have dementia.
Everyone makes a bad decision once in a while that they regret later. However, dementia can cause older adults to frequently make poor judgements. They might fall easily for telemarketing scams or make expensive and unnecessary purchases they cannot afford.
Losing items isn’t necessarily a sign of dementia. After all, even young adults occasionally lose track of their keys or other items. However, if your aging relative is frequently losing items and they are later found in odd places, there could be a problem. Also, people with dementia may misplace items and accuse other people of stealing them.
Behavior or Mood Changes
Lots of older adults fall into routines that one might describe as “set in their ways.” They may even get a touch angry if someone tries to change the routine. That’s normal. However, someone with dementia might experience mood changes, such as a normally docile and happy person getting angry or anxious easily.
If you notice signs of dementia in your loved one, they should see a doctor for a full evaluation. If they are diagnosed with dementia or even mild cognitive impairment, a senior care provider can assist them to continue living in their home safely and comfortably. A senior care provider can help the older adult to remember appointments and to take their medications. Senior care providers can also assist with tasks that become difficult because of cognitive problems, such as responding to mail and paying bills.
When you are in need of care for a senior loved one, consider home care provided by Golden Heart Senior Care. We have offices nationwide. For more information, call us today at (800) 601-2792.