Memory loss conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias can be challenging to manage. The symptoms associated with these conditions are often difficult to spot, and it can be easy to confuse them with forgetfulness.
Understanding what to look for when it comes to your loved one’s memory loss condition is vital. Doing so can help you determine when it’s time to consider extra help to ensure your loved one is taken care of.
What Causes Memory Loss?
While forgetfulness and memory loss are related, they are vastly different. Forgetfulness can be a natural part of the aging process. As we grow older, we may find ourselves misplacing keys or missing a monthly payment. Memory loss is more severe.
Memory loss can result from medical conditions like some thyroid, kidney, and liver disorders or injuries like head trauma. They may also result from emotional problems like anxiety and depression from losing a spouse or feeling lonely.
People often refer to memory loss caused by a set of conditions called dementia. You may have heard of Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common type of dementia. It’s essential to understand the causes and symptoms of these conditions to monitor your loved ones and determine whether they need extra assistance.
Alzheimer’s disease is primarily understood to be caused by aging. As the brain ages, proteins called plaques and tangles cluster together in the brain and can disrupt the flow of nutrients. These proteins can leave the brain unhealthy and make it difficult to maintain normal function.
Over 6 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease. That number is expected to increase in the next several years. Researchers believe genetics is a significant factor when considering a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s disease symptoms include:
- Increased memory loss
- Poor judgment & decision making
- Wandering or getting lost
- Mild mood & behavior changes
- Shortened attention span
When Alzheimer’s disease progresses to more severe symptoms, the condition is usually referred to as dementia.
Dementia is a term used to cover several conditions affecting memory function, social skills, and behavioral changes. Over 55 million people live with dementia worldwide, with around 10 million new cases added yearly.
Dementia can come in many different forms based on its cause. Alzheimer’s-related dementia is the most common; however, dementia can also result from vascular disease, lewy bodies, and frontotemporal shrinkage.
Symptoms of dementia include:
- Loss of spatial & visual abilities
- Intense visual hallucinations
- Difficulty balancing & walking
- Increased confusion
- Decreased memory function
While everybody can develop dementia as they grow older, women and racial minorities are at more risk.
When Should You Consider Seeking Help?
As a person’s condition progresses, they may need additional assistance for everyday tasks. This extra help can make life more manageable and safe for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
A person’s safety may be at risk if they have a memory loss condition. For example, they may leave stove burners and appliances unattended, which could cause injury. Or they may risk slipping and falling in the bathroom due to poor balance skills.
As a caregiver, monitoring your loved one’s condition and considering whether they may benefit from some extra help is vital. You may have your loved one’s best interests at heart while caring for them, though it may be emotionally and physically difficult if you don’t have the training to care for them properly.
What is Memory Care?
Memory care communities support residents with memory loss conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia. They create a safe environment where community members can receive the assistance they need when they need it.
Staff in memory care communities are specifically trained to meet the needs of residents. They provide social engagement opportunities to maintain cognitive skills and personalized activities to stimulate brain function. Some communities even offer physical activity programs to support balance and walking skills.
A memory care community may be the right place for your loved one to be taken care of in a compassionate, dignified way that puts them at ease and takes the pressure off you to care for them.
Moving Forward with Memory Care
At Hillsdale Fox Trail, we take an intimate, boutique approach to memory support. With only 16 residents at any time, we’re able to provide highly personalized care and a comfortable atmosphere where residents can get the care they need. Deciding to move to memory care can be a difficult decision—that’s why we’re here to help. With spacious apartments and enriching experiences, we hope to make the transition to memory care as smooth as possible. Get in touch with us to explore more.