Home care aide takes an elderly woman with dementia for a walk in the park.

Is it Dementia or Just Memory Loss?

Last updated on February 13, 2022

We all forget things now and then, especially as we get older. However, if someone you love has grown noticeably more forgetful or absentminded over time, it could be a precursor to a serious cognitive issue like Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia.

Possible Signs of Dementia in Seniors

Memory loss is exceptionally common among people over the age of 65. At this point in life, you may notice your parents are misplacing things a lot, or forgetting they already told you a particular story. These are not necessarily signs of dementia, so understanding how to distinguish between everyday lapses and potential signs of dementia is important.

If you have any concerns about your loved one’s memory, you should pay particular attention to the following forms of memory loss:

  • Losing track of dates, seasons, and time
    Forgetting what season, day, or month it is, or how much time has passed can indicate some type of cognitive decline.
  • Forgetting how to complete typical tasks
    Pay attention if your loved one can no longer do things that used to be second nature to them. This can include forgetting the ingredients in a recipe they know by heart or getting confused about the rules of a card game they love.
  • Repeatedly missing events or appointments
    Take note if your parent, partner, or other loved one keeps forgetting about plans they’ve scheduled, particularly medical appointments.
  • Confusing friends’ and loved ones’ names
    It’s natural to slip up or forget a name from time to time. However, it may be a cause for concern if your loved one keeps mixing up the names of friends and family members.
  • Forgetting recent events while remembering past events clearly
    When you talk to your loved one, note how they refer to past events versus recent ones. Can they still recall all of their favorite childhood stories in detail, but can’t remember a conversation from the last few days or weeks?

Keep in mind memory loss isn’t the only symptom of dementia. You should also look out for other signs of cognitive decline, as outlined by the Alzheimer’s Association, including:

  • Poor judgment or difficulty problem-solving
  • Mood swings or a significant change in personality
  • Issues with spatial awareness or language

How Dementia Care can Address Risks Posed by Memory Loss

Early detection can go a long way toward helping your loved one enjoy a higher quality of life. This makes it vital to consult a healthcare professional if you’ve seen signs of cognitive decline.

In addition, if memory loss is affecting your loved one’s ability to live safely at home, consider reaching out to your local Visiting Angels© office about our home care and dementia care.

Our dementia care service includes specialized support for seniors who are struggling with daily tasks due to increased confusion or memory loss. These support services can include meal preparation, transportation to appointments, medication reminders, and the comfort of a stable and supportive presence.

Whether your loved one has dementia or just needs more support to keep up with daily tasks, our home care professionals are always here to help.

If you're interested in our compassionate home care services for you or a loved one, contact your nearest Visiting Angels home care agency today or call 800-365-4189.
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