Many families are shocked to find that their senior loved one has Alzheimer's disease or dementia. It can seem like the person is fine one day and then his or her mind is a confused maze the next. These conditions do not typically develop rapidly. Instead, they occur over time and can be easy for both the senior and his or her family to overlook. It's important to know the signs that your loved one is hiding memory troubles. Here are some things to look for:
As a way to cope with burgeoning memory loss, many seniors rely on routines. Being in their own homes, following the same pattern each day can hide the effects of memory loss. Everything from attending weekly brunch groups with friends to going to the movies at the same time every Friday can make it easy for an older individual to appear as if his or her brain is functioning normally. You may notice, though, that the person is a little off when not following the routine. Perhaps the senior's car breaks down, leaving no way to get to his or her usual activities. You may receive a confused phone call from the person asking when you're coming over or notice that he or she goes to bed far earlier than usual. These little signs can add up, helping you realize your loved one has memory loss.
Trouble with logical thinking
The Alzheimer's Association wrote that some seniors have trouble with simple tasks, like balancing a checkbook or doing math. You might see that the older individual can't figure out how to add up a tip at a restaurant or is unable to tell the time on an analog clock.
"Normally excellent cooks may forget how to read a recipe."
Seniors who are excellent cooks and frequently make delicious meals for friends and family may suddenly not know how to read a recipe card. The senior can hide these instances by switching to digital clocks, providing a larger-than-normal tip and only making recipes from memory.
Confusion when speaking
Seniors who have memory loss may have difficulty with conversations. They may be mid-sentence and forget what they're saying or not know how to join in an ongoing talk. They can hide these issues by pretending to see something interesting and discussing that, or even avoiding social interactions altogether. You may see a senior isolating him or herself or not attending events he or she would normally enjoy by providing excuses like pretending to be sick. Seniors with Alzheimer's disease or dementia may also repeat themselves or have trouble coming up with certain words. They can become quite skilled at hiding it when this happens, so you may have to pay close attention to catch these signs of memory loss.
If you are concerned that your senior loved one is struggling with dementia, consider setting up an appointment to check out an Alzheimer's care community. These residences are well-staffed and fully equipped to provide assistance to older people who are no longer able to live independently.