Forgetfulness can be perfectly normal. In fact, most people have lost their car keys or forgotten appointments or tasks, even as young adults. In older generations, however, any sign of forgetfulness can arouse fears of dementia and other memory-related health problems. When the older person who is exhibiting the troubling signs is an aging parent, and you are one of their caretakers, concerns about the development of dementia can be very frightening. Dealing with concerns about dementia can be best addressed through becoming better educated about this troubling condition.
Memory loss can occur for many different reasons. It can be caused by health issues like stroke, cancer, uncontrolled diabetes, or even untreated high blood pressure. But memory loss can also occur from mistakes in prescribing or taking medications and as a result of mental health issues, like depression and anxiety.
The term dementia is often used in a broad sense to cover any symptoms of impaired thought, memory, or ability to communicate. In order to receive an actual dementia diagnosis, a patient must exhibit at least two different types of impairment in their abilities to communicate, use language, focus on tasks and ideas, remember, and reason.
Signs of possible dementia
Adult caretaker children should be concerned about the possibility of their elderly parent showing signs of dementia if they note one or more of the following signs:
- frequently struggling to find the right word when speaking or writing
- remembering the distant past more easily than events from the past day or week
- having to refer to notes and directions to complete tasks they have been accomplished at performing in the past
- worrisome mood and personality changes, such as aggressiveness, apathy, or signs of depression and anxiety
- becoming confused about where they are or why they are there
- repetitive discussions and comments
Elderly parents who are just beginning to struggle with dementia may also show visible signs of unrest when faced with changes in their daily routines or other changes that they may have taken in stride in the past.
Dealing with dementia
Caretaker children who suspect an elderly parent may be struggling with the onset of dementia should discuss their concerns with their medical care provider. Assessments, including both physical, mental, and neurological testing can help to rule out other problems and confirm a dementia diagnosis.
Adult caretaker children who find that their elderly parent is suffering from dementia may need to consider placing them in an assisted living facility or helping them arrange any personal care services they may require. For more information, contact a company like Wellspring Meadows Assisted Living.