Recognizing the Signs of Dementia

September 22, 2019

Have you noticed your senior parent occasionally forgetting what he or she was about to say or having difficulty recalling names and retrieving specific words? Maybe you’ve witnessed them misplacing items or becoming distracted. Typically, there is no need to fret. For the 40% of people over the age of sixty-five that experience age-related memory impairment, this type of forgetfulness can generally be chalked up to having a “senior moment.” In fact, age-related memory impairment is caused by natural changes in the brain. The brain’s volume peaks in our early twenties and then gradually declines as we age. By the time we reach our forties and fifties, the cortex has started to shrink, and the brain has less blood flow.

The following things can help to improve memory impairment related to the aging process:

  • Get more sleep, as fatigue can affect memory and concentration
  • Stick to a regular daily routine
  • Stay organized and always return essential items, such as keys and wallets, to the same spot
  • Reduce stress
  • Repeat new information, like names and directions, over and over in your head
  • Focus on one task at a time rather than multitasking
  • Try practicing mindfulness
  • Read and use brain apps geared towards improving memory

Are you wondering if your senior parent is experiencing typical signs of memory loss or if there should be more cause for concern? If you notice any of the below symptoms of dementia, it may be time to chat with your family doctor:

  • Being unable to recognize family members and close friends and forgetting their names
  • Forgetting details of recent events or conversations, especially with increasing frequency
  • Difficulty finding words, accompanied by pauses, and using words in the wrong context
  • Having trouble with executive functioning skills including planning and organizing or completing multi-step tasks
  • Experiencing episodes of confusion and disorientation or getting lost while driving
  • Disregarding social norms in public
  • Difficulty with coordination, balance, and motor functions
  • Not having an awareness of memory issues and cognitive changes

Still unsure if your senior parent is experiencing expected memory impairment or showing early signs of dementia? It can never hurt to consult a medical professional. Taking the first step towards getting answers will provide you and your loved ones with a plan of action and some peace of mind.

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