Did you know that about 40% of people aged 65 and older have issues with memory?
For most people, this is just a sign of an aging brain and not a major health issue. But, in about 1% of these cases, the person goes on to develop dementia or other forms of advanced memory loss.
It’s important that you learn to spot the signs of memory problems in your elderly loved one. Keep reading to learn how.
They’ll Fight the War of the Words
If you’ve ever tried and failed to come up with the right word to describe something, you know how frustrating it is. People who have issues with memory experience this war of the words often and you’ll notice it happening more and more as they age.
Your loved one might have to pause longer when speaking in order to get the words out correctly. They may stop in the middle of a sentence and get lost in thought. Or they may fail to join conversations at all for fear of not being able to speak how they’d like to speak.
This applies to written words too. You may notice their handwriting becomes shakier and uneven. They also might make more spelling and grammar errors than you’re used to seeing.
You’ll See All the Emotions
As we mentioned, not being able to remember words is super frustrating. And you might notice your loved one getting angry when they can’t participate in a conversation. Someone who’s normally sweet and kind might lash out at others in situations where they can’t think of the right words.
You also might notice more frequent mood swings. They may be happy one moment and sad or withdrawn the next because they can’t remember something from their past.
Other common emotions are fear and anxiety. If they’re having issues remembering what they did in recent days, they may become anxious or even suspicious of those around them.
The Familiar Becomes Unfamiliar
Simple daily tasks, like shaving or cooking breakfast, may become more difficult for them to perform. They may forget how to turn on their oven or how to hold a razor. Or they may repeat things because they’ve forgotten they did them in the first place.
Misplacing items is common with those suffering from memory problems. You might find a cell phone sitting in the sugar bowl or other strange occurrences like that. And they’ll lose common items, like car keys and gloves, more often because they’ll lose the ability to retrace their steps.
Social Butterfly, No More
It’s often difficult for people to deal with the changes that come with memory loss. They’ll know there’s something wrong, but won’t be able to put their finger on it. A normally social person may become withdrawn and depressed.
You might notice that they have a hard time planning ahead and remembering when they need to be at certain places. They may lose interest in hobbies or attending activities because of fear that they’ll forget how to participate.
When to Seek Help for Memory Problems
There are some things that you can do to help your loved one improve their memory. You can talk to them often and make sure they’re eating a good diet and drinking plenty of water. Many times, memory problems are caused by dehydration or fatigue.
But if you notice that the issues are getting worse and memory lapses are becoming more frequent and distressing, it’s time to get some help. Make an appointment with their doctor to discuss your concerns about their memory problems.
At St. William’s Living Center, we offer a variety of care services to help our residents navigate life as they age. Call us today to talk to one of our experienced staff members.