Being forgetful or “slipping” in eyesight, hearing or memory is often associated with aging. “Oh, I’m just getting old,” your senior loved one remarks. But because those attributes are so often stereotyped as “just getting old,” it can be difficult to know when to be concerned about memory loss. Because you know your senior loved one best, you may be the first one to recognize changes in their behavior. If you have to make the call as to whether or not memory loss concerns warrant taking action to ensure your loved one is safe and cared for, you’re probably seeking as much information about how to handle such a complex and delicate task as possible. So when should you be concerned about memory loss?
Signs Memory Loss Is Becoming Dangerous
Common age-related memory lapses aren’t the same thing as having Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. The differences between normal cognitive decline with aging and dementia can be a fine line. If your loved one exhibits any of the following behaviors, it could be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.
- They leave things unfinished.
- They get lost in familiar places.
- They’re unable to recall recent conversations.
- They leave the stove on after cooking a meal, or they forget they’re cooking and let the food burn.
- They blank on familiar information, like street names and names of people they know.
- They end up in places and can’t recall how they got there.
- They regularly make mistakes on things like paying bills and filling out forms.
- They don’t remember instances when their memory impairment caused a problem.
- They forget words or repeat phrases or stories in the same conversation.
- They show uncharacteristically poor social behavior or lapse in judgment.
Someone without Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia is certainly capable of any of these behaviors. It’s the frequency with which memory lapses happen and the degree to which they make life unsafe that you need to watch out for.
Is Memory Care Right for My Senior Loved One?
Many family caregivers find themselves sandwiched between caring for their aging parent and their own children. It could benefit the entire family to move your senior loved one with memory loss to a memory care facility. There, they’ll receive specialized care in a secure environment that’s optimized for their best possible quality of life. If your senior loved one expresses that they’ve felt fear or insecurity as a result of their inability to remember, take their concerns seriously, and start looking into how you can secure a safe environment for them.
How to Talk to Aging Parents About Memory Loss
It’s completely expected and understandable that your senior parent wants to function normally for as long as possible, so they may be in denial that their memory loss is cause for serious concern. Approach a conversation with them about their memory care needs with patience, understanding and good intention. Even though their actions caused by memory impairment may have caused you frustration, try to avoid confrontation; be aware that their memory loss is just as difficult for them to handle as it is for you, if not more. When you talk to your senior loved one about moving to a memory care facility, make sure it’s clear you have their best interests in mind, and reassure them that this move will make both your lives happier and easier.
If you feel it’s time to seek outside help in caring for your loved one with memory loss, visit our Memory Care page to learn more about Lexington Square of Lombard’s services. Contact us to speak to a trusted senior living adviser about how Lexington Square’s memory care professionals provide the utmost services by forming meaningful relationships with our residents that go beyond basic care.