If you have noticed oddities in the behavior of one of your family members, it may be time to look into resources and find out how a memory care community could benefit your loved one.
It can often be a difficult transition once cognitive decline starts with a loved one. But they can still live a fulfilling life with the right treatment and guidance.
Some common red flags that may signal cognitive decline include memory loss that affects and disrupts daily life and difficulty completing familiar tasks.
You can also take our Memory Care Quiz to help you determine if exploring memory care options could be the right choice for your loved one.
What Are the Signs of Cognitive Decline?
Simple Lapses in Memory
If your loved one is experiencing lapses in memory, it may begin with simple things, like forgetting medications, appointments, keys, and wallets. At first, it may not seem like much, just that they’re forgetful, but this can progressively get worse and begin to affect your loved one’s daily life.
Problems with Planning or Solving Issues
Tasks like ordering medicine may result in difficulties. Your loved one may also forget to take care of valuables, like keeping up with regular car maintenance. Issues that wouldn’t normally confuse them may begin to cause frustration.
Difficulty with Essential Tasks
Though they may love cooking, it may suddenly become difficult or confusing, which can be a safety concern. Cleaning may be forgotten completely. If you find that your loved one hasn’t been caring for themselves or their home as usual, this is a sign to check in and see how they’re doing.
Problems with Time or Places
They may repeatedly forget where they live, and they may get confused about dates, including months, days, and even years. If your loved one lives on their own, this is a clear sign they may need extra support.
Problems with Visual Images & Spatial Relationships
Your loved one may have difficulty processing visual information. Other symptoms include difficulty paying attention to visual tasks, visual stimuli causing distractions easily, and problems with reading, writing, and math. They may not understand letters, numbers, and symbols as easily as before.
Speaking & Writing Issues
You may notice your loved one having trouble finding words, which can cause frustration. They may forget the names of things, or begin to speak without using proper grammar. If they were once well-spoken, this can become a serious source of frustration.
Decreased & Poor Judgment
Your family member may start making decisions that are not aligned with their former values. If you notice a clear shift in their priorities or personality without explanation, this can be a sign of cognitive decline.
Losing interest in Work & Social Activities
Your loved one may appear to be losing interest in activities that once brought them joy. This could be because of embarrassment due to difficulty with memory—or if it is work, they may stop attending without letting their boss know ahead of time. When asked, they may not have a clear explanation. This is a sign your loved one may be struggling with memory.
Mood & Personality Changes
Changes in a loved one’s personality can be difficult emotionally. When a person is experiencing cognitive decline, it can affect their behavior and attitude towards loved ones, and they may have difficulty remembering their relationship to you at times. It’s important to remain patient with your loved one if they begin to show changes like this.
Assessment for Dementia
Recognizing the signs of dementia early is key to helping your loved one through this challenging condition.
One major issue is if your loved one may be unaware of their cognitive ability issues. The earlier you seek treatment and help your loved one understand their condition, the earlier you can provide supportive care.
Your doctor may perform some assessments for mild cognitive impairment and dementia. The SLU Mental Status Exam is another resource you may use, as it’s an exam that you can take at home.
If your family member is showing signs that they need more support to care for themselves, it may be time to learn more about the resources available in a memory care community.
At Fox Trail Memory Care, our team is experienced in helping those with cognitive issues. Our aim is to help your loved one achieve a sense of independence while still supporting them and providing the freedom to make their own decisions.
Plus, there are opportunities for growth in our many programs that are specifically designed to support those with memory issues. Our schedule keeps our members social and engaged. Schedule a tour to experience our community for yourself and see if it’s a good fit for your family member.