Signs Your Aging Parent Needs Memory CareFebruary 24, 2023
While most aging parents with early-stage dementia can still live independently or with some assistance, others with more serious cognitive decline might need help from trained medical professionals and memory care experts.
However, symptoms for such problems can be tough to spot. Dementia and other cognitive decline symptoms vary massively, making it incredibly hard sometimes to pinpoint what is wrong and when to seek memory care.
You’ve come to the right place if you are in this dilemma with your aging parent. In this post, we’ve outlined the most common signs your aging parent needs memory care.
The signs on our list indicate that your loved one could need extra help.
1. Forgetting to Take Medications
Most aging Americans take some form of medication. Whether it’s for arthritic pain, heart disease, or other medical conditions, consistently taking their medication is crucial to living a longer and healthier life.
If you notice that your loved one has started skipping their medications, taking them too late, or has simply started taking too many, this is a good indication that they may require personal care.
Occasionally, it can simply mean they need help organizing their medications, understanding the dosing, or picking up their prescriptions. However, it can also be a sign that they are suffering from a cognitive disorder.
2. Repeating the Same Stories or Questions
One of the most straightforward dementia symptoms to spot is repetitiveness. Senior adults who have dementia or other cognitive disorders often repeat themselves over and over again.
You might find that your parent has started telling you the same story every time you see them or keeps asking you the same questions. Generally speaking, it doesn’t matter how often you have answered; they will tell you and ask you again.
More often than not, your parent will repeat the same sentences and phrases. Don’t be surprised if what they say is the same word-for-word.
While there could be other reasons for this, it could be a sign of a greater cognitive issue.
3. Wandering Off or Getting Lost
The next sign on this list is wandering off or getting lost. Wandering is when an individual, usually an older adult, becomes confused about their location. The individual often gets lost easily or doesn’t know where they are. This can be indicative of Alzheimer’s disease and late-stage dementia.
The Alzheimer’s Association states that 6 in 10 people who have dementia will wander at least once, with most people wandering multiple times. Another strong sign that your parent needs help is that they can’t remember journeys they’ve made hundreds of times before.
If you notice your parent suffering from these symptoms, getting them help as soon as possible is important, as wandering can put them and others at risk of injury.
4. Struggling with Basic Tasks Like Bathing, Dressing, and Using the Bathroom
Struggling with basic tasks, such as bathing, dressing, and using the bathroom, is another sign that your parent might need memory care. In particular, dressing themselves oddly and hygiene habits are key pointers.
In terms of dressing, you might notice that your parent no longer dresses the same or wears the same clothes every day. You might also find that they stop doing their hair. They might not even get dressed at all.
Not using the bathroom or washing clearly indicates something isn’t right. This can be seen in a lack of hygiene. You might also find that the bathroom itself is unclean.
5. Having Difficulty Recognizing Family and Friends
One of the most emotionally taxing symptoms to come to terms with for the individual, their family, and their friends is having difficulty recognizing people. While we all forget people’s faces sometimes, forgetting our family and best friends is indicative of a larger issue.
Unfortunately, a common symptom with those needing memory loss care is difficulty recognizing their loved ones. It isn’t uncommon for people with dementia to completely forget names and faces.
A common sign of this is a grandparent calling their grandchild their son or daughter. Another sign to look out for is confusion involving location. It isn’t unusual for people living with dementia to think they live somewhere they haven’t been for decades.
6. Mood Swings or Personality Changes
Mood swings and personality changes are the final sign on this list that might show that your parent needs memory care. When seniors develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, their personalities can be severely affected.
If you notice unusual behavior, this could be a sign they need help. Your parent might easily become frustrated, agitated, angry, or upset over trivial things. Don’t be surprised if you see your parent even mistreat or mistrust their closest family and friends.
On the other hand, some older adults might become withdrawn. You could find that your parent wants to keep to themselves, or become unfriendly and grumpy. Their own frustration and confusion often bring on this personality change.
Caring for an aging parent with dementia or another cognitive disorder is challenging. Watching a loved one’s health decline is never easy; however, adult children of senior adults will want to do their best to support their parents the best way they can.
We can help by helping them get memory care when they need it most. Most of the signs on this list can be spotted relatively easily, so if you’re concerned about your parent, keep a close eye out for what we’ve discussed. Don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our friendly staff members if you’re not sure of the next step to take in your parent’s care journey.