Memory Loss or Normal Signs of Aging?

Are you wondering if changes you see in a senior loved one are normal signs of aging or something serious like Alzheimer’s? This article will help you learn more.

Mother and daughter smiling and enjoying a sunny afternoon.

The myths and misconceptions surrounding aging can make it difficult to distinguish the normal signs of a loved one growing older from changes that may signal a serious medical issue. Memory loss is one common concern.

If you suspect an older adult in your life may be experiencing dementia, this information can help you recognize the warning signs.

Early Signs of Dementia versus Typical Signs of Aging

  • Struggle with recall: When your family member forgets something, whether a misplaced item or an appointment, do they remember it later? If not, it can be a warning sign that needs to be addressed with a physician.
  • Type of information lost: It’s also important to note what kind of information the senior is forgetting. Are they forgetting names of people they’ve known for a long time? Or is it primarily new information? When a person has Alzheimer’s disease, forgotten information is typically gone for good. Short-term memory often declines early in the disease process.
  • Losing their way: Getting lost is a symptom of Alzheimer’s many people are familiar with. We’ve all likely seen news bulletins about a senior who has gone missing on their way home from the grocery store. Getting lost in familiar surroundings is a concern that needs to be shared with a physician.
  • Decline in abstract thought: Another important distinction to watch for is if a senior is struggling to complete tasks. Are they having problems physically managing the activity or are they forgetting how to complete it? For example, a senior who always changed the oil in his car might be making dangerous mistakes with the task now. They could be having trouble remembering the steps to complete the job. This can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease or a similar form of dementia.
  • Inability to follow directions: Is your family member having difficulty with short-term memory that even providing verbal cues can’t help overcome? For example, you might call them at noon to remind them to take their medicine. When they hang up, they may immediately forget what you told them and not take their medicine. When you talk again later, they might not even remember your earlier conversation. That is not a typical sign of aging.

Learn about Memory Support at The Wesley Community

When an older loved one’s quality of life is negatively impacted by Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia, a memory support community can help. In the Wesley Health Care Center, our team of experts is dedicated to improving the lives of residents with dementia.

This specialized unit is designed to provide care for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia related diagnosis. Our unique memory care program keep residents stimulated and engaged despite their disease. We invite you to call us at (518) 587-3600 to speak to a specialist. Get the answers to more questions about Memory Care on our Memory Care FAQ page.