As our parents and loved ones get older, it’s only natural that their memories won’t remain as sharp as they may have been when they were younger. As changes occur in hormone levels and in the brain, it’s easy for the elderly to forget where they placed their glasses or the names of people they’ve just met. A little forgetfulness here and there is one thing. However, certain recurring signs and symptoms may lead you to worry about your aging parent’s brain health, and it might be time to learn about and consider memory care options. For example, if your mother continually forgets the lunch dates you’ve arranged with her, or you notice that she pauses mid-sentence searching for a basic word, you may begin to wonder, “Does my Mom have Alzheimer’s?”
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s is a brain disease and type of dementia that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking, and reasoning skills. Currently, there are more than five million adults actively living with Alzheimer’s or dementia in the U.S. There are various signs and patterns to be aware of when trying to detect if someone you care for may have the disease. The more informed you are, the sooner you may be able to recognize symptoms and help get them the care they need to remain safe and happy in their lives. Here are five common Alzheimer’s signs to watch for…
1. Difficulty Problem-Solving According to WebMD, difficulty problem-solving can indicate a deeper problem than simply losing one’s edge with age. If your Mom was an accountant for years, but suddenly has trouble balancing her checkbook or doing basic math when paying a bill, this could be a sign of trouble. Early signs of Alzheimer’s may also appear if she forgets the rules for her favorite card game despite playing it for years with her local group of friends. Problems with completing familiar tasks or solving simple problems may also be a cause for concern and indicate the need for further analysis.
2. Difficulty in Conversation Difficulty following or participating in a conversation is another valid reason to ask, “Does my Mom have Alzheimer’s?” The Alzheimer’s Association provides a plethora of examples such as:
- Stopping in the middle of a conversation and having no idea how to continue or repeating themselves.
- Struggling with vocabulary.
- Having problems finding the right word or calling things by the wrong name (e.g., calling a “watch” a “hand-clock”).
3. Confusion over Time and Dates Forgetting what day of the week it is happens to the best of us at times, especially if we are retired or don’t have a regular schedule or routine. However, if your parent has a hard time remembering appointments or plans, it might be a sign that your parent or loved one is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s.
4. Changes in Personality While personality changes can happen at any age, as your parent becomes older, it’s something to keep an eye on. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, noticeable differences in your parent’s personality may indicate more than normal memory loss. To see if your parent is experiencing these symptoms, ask yourself…
- Does my Mom get upset more easily?
- Have I noticed that my Dad is generally depressed?
- Is my loved one acting scared, suspicious, or anxious?
Changes in personality such as these can indicate changes in your loved one’s brain and should not be taken lightly or ignored.
5. Problems with Vision Alzheimer’s symptoms aren’t only restricted to mental and emotional changes. The Alzheimer’s Association has found that 60% of people with Alzheimer’s will have a decrease in visual ability. If you’ve noticed that your parent or loved one has difficulty with motion blindness, depth perception, color perception, and contrast sensitivity, serious memory loss may be to blame. It’s also important to note that this disease can make it harder to read words on a page or judge distance accurately, which elevates the risks of performing certain activities, such as driving a car. This change in ability is another reason why it’s better to get help sooner rather than later to ensure the safety of your parent.
If your loved one is exhibiting several or all of the symptoms above, it may be time to set up a meeting with a doctor who can evaluate and refer to a specialist for a full diagnosis. The sooner you take the steps to get your parent the care he or she needs, the better it will be for his or her health, safety, and well-being. The possibility of an official Alzheimer’s diagnosis may raise concerns about your parent’s ability to remain independent.
When it comes to memory care in Arizona, LifeStream Complete Senior Living offers adult children peace of mind for their parents with personalized care and a loving community. Our welcoming environment, comfortable outdoor and indoor living areas, dedicated caregivers, and on-site nursing services all make LifeStream the perfect option for your parent to live life to the fullest in later years. Explore the exceptional memory care that LifeStream offers by requesting more information or scheduling a tour.