Memory impairment may present in many forms. Whether it be dementia, Alzheimer's, or mild cognitive impairment, knowing when to be concerned about your loved one's health is essential. While it's normal for people to be forgetful, it could be an indicator that your loved one is beginning to experience early symptoms of a more severe disease.
As people age, the risk of developing memory impairment increases significantly. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, "the vast majority of people with Alzheimer's dementia [are] age 65 or older." After the age of 65, memory impairment conditions occur more often, and it becomes increasingly important that your loved one regularly see a doctor to catch the condition early on.
Mental State Has Changed
One of the well-known signs of memory impairment is a change in your loved one's mental state. They may seem like they are a different person than before or they may have problems doing tasks that require mental effort that most people don't have an issue with. While there are a variety of psychological conditions that could have a factor in affecting your loved one's memory, many of them have similar symptoms and hard to pin point a specific condition.
Seek professional medical attention if your loved one is exhibiting any of these warning signs:
- Trouble holding a conversation
- Repeatedly forgetting important dates
- Taking longer to complete simple tasks
- Becoming lost in familiar areas
- Asking the same question more than once
- Placing items in places they wouldn't typically be placed
While there are many other signs of memory impairment, many of them are relatively easy to catch. If your loved one is acting differently than usual and doing things that are out of character, it's always a good idea to have them speak with a doctor.
Physical impairment can also be an indicator of a severe memory problem. Several memory impairments cause physical symptoms that are much easier to notice than cognitive symptoms. Alzheimer's is known to have a few physical symptoms that you can look for to catch the disease early on.
Some of the physical traits of memory impairment conditions are:
- Taking shorter steps
- Decreased motor skills
- Loss of balance
- Poor eyesight
The listed symptoms are attributable to a series of conditions, but they can also indicate that your loved one may be experiencing some form of memory impairment. Be diligent when researching the physical symptoms of memory impairment and speak to a healthcare professional to make sure your loved one is not experiencing a different condition.
Change in Mood
Are you noticing that your loved one has been acting differently lately? They could be more irritated than usual or have flippant feelings if they are experiencing memory impairment. Although these are the most difficult symptoms to observe for most people, they could tip you off that your loved one is beginning to struggle with memory impairment.
Speak with your loved one about seeing a professional if they are acting:
- Suspicious or paranoid
Although these emotional conditions are common to find in healthy people, a recurring anxious or paranoid personality is not typical and can be an indicator for an aging adult that there is an issue beyond mental health and more toward cognitive function and memory impairments.
With the broad scope of memory impairment conditions that have been identified, it's important to be vigilant. Frequently converse with your loved one about their health and show them your support if they are struggling with their condition. We recommend memory care for seniors that are experiencing difficulties in their daily routine due to memory impairment.
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