What Are the Early Signs of Memory Loss in Older Adults

As individuals grow older, it is increasingly likely that memory loss may start to occur. According to most, one of the biggest concerns among older adults and their loved ones is that as they grow older, they will become more forgetful.Signs Of Memory Loss In Older Adults

This stems from the fact that most people believe forgetfulness is the first sign of the development of a type of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Before delving further into this topic, we feel it is important to point out that not all people that experience memory complications suffer from a type of dementia. To learn more, continue reading.

Underlying Causes of Memory Loss in Seniors

Forgetfulness naturally occurs as a person grows older. This stems from physiological changes that occur within the brain.

Other underlying causes for memory loss in seniors include suffering from certain types of medical conditions, such as vitamin deficiencies, thyroid issues, and infections; taking certain medications; experiencing emotional issues,such as anxiety and depression; mild impairments that impact cognitive functioning; and the development of some type of dementia.

As you read through the early signs of memory loss in this guide, you should keep an open mind and rule out all other possibilities for the issue before assuming dementia is to blame.

What is Considered to be “Normal” Memory Loss as We Age?

Now, we would like to outline normal situations that may occur as a result of the normal aging process:

  • As a person ages, it may be normal to find that they forget to pay one of their bills every once in a while.
  • Many may forget the day of the week or the date, but will usually recall it later on.
  • In some instances, the “right word” may slip a person’s mind.
  • Every so often, a person may make a decision that is considered to be “bad”.
  • It is common for a person to misplace or lose items occasionally, such as glasses, keys, and other items that are commonly used.

Signs of Memory Loss That Could Indicate the Development of Dementia

Now that you know the “norm” when it comes to age-related memory loss, it is time to outline signs that could indicate that memory loss is a result of a more serious issue, like the development of dementia:

  • You may find that the older adult has serious problems in having a conversation, texting, emailing, and other types of writing. The person may be unable to appropriately follow a conversation, may start to repeat what they or someone else has already expressed, they may have a difficult time finding the right words, or even use unusual words. For example, if the individual worked in electronics or machinery in their lifetime, they may use words like “power it on” to mean to “start” or “do” something, or may describe a sock as a “foot cover”.
  • Those that are starting to experience serious memory loss may start to have problems in planning something or solving a problem that they are faced with. For example, they may have a special recipe that they have made for many years, but find themselves unable to follow it. Many people may start to have an issue in doing things that they once did – such as doing a load of laundry, keeping track of their monthly bills, or remembering what to do when they take a shower.
  • Those that are suffering from abnormal memory loss may experience severe bouts of confusion, in terms of the time and in terms of place. For example, they may lose track of the seasons, they may be unable to appropriately read a clock, or they may not remember where they are or how they arrived at some location.
  • Many individuals may start to experience some type of visual disturbance and understanding the various types of spatial relationships of situations and things they encounter. For example, reading may start to become very hard. They may start to bump into things while walking because they are unable to judge distance. In some instances, they may start to experience severe problems with contract and/or colors, which could reflect in their ability to drive – be it a motor vehicle or a mobility device, such as a mobility scooter.
  • People with a serious form of memory loss will start to lose items and/or place those items in very unusual places. For example, they may place their wallet or purse in the freezer or they may put dish soap in the shower and wash with it. In some instances, the person that misplaces and/or completely loses items of interest will lash out at others and start to become suspicious that those people are stealing from them. As the condition worsens, this degree of paranoia often worsens, too.
  • Many people that start to develop dementia-related memory loss may start to exhibit signs of poor judgment. This may come in many forms. The first – and often the most noticeable – is their inability to properly clean and/or groom themselves. The next form may be associated with how they spend their money. For example, they may give their financial information out to unknown individuals over the phone or internet, they may start to buy something every single day that does not need to be purchased – such as pet food, laundry soap, or bread.
  • If memory loss starts to occur that is related to the development of dementia, many may start to change – in terms of their overall mood and their personality. It is common to see people with dementia start to develop fears, high levels of anxiety, depression, and confusion. This is especially true if they are not within their comfort zone or something does not go the way that they feel it should go.
  • If an individual starts to forget information that they have previously learned, continuously ask for the same information over and over again, or start to become heavily dependent on memory aids – such as notes, planners, and even people that are close to them – the memory issue may be related to the development of dementia.

Interruptions to Daily Life

If you find that your loved one meets the criteria outlined in this guide for memory loss that causes interruptions to their daily life, it may be time to consider memory care placement. This is a type of skilled nursing facility that is designed to accommodate those with dementia-related memory loss. It helps to ensure that your loved one is receiving the proper nutrition, the right medications, and the proper medical care. It is designed to keep your loved one safe, interactive, and in an environment where specially-trained personnel help to increase the quality of life for your loved one. For more information, contact us today by calling: 973-713-0096

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