When does forgetting minor details turn from normal to concerning? It is a question that almost everyone asks as they get older or as their parents age. It is important to note that while forgetfulness is not a normal part of aging, it is common to experience scatterbrain moments like walking into a room and not remembering why on earth you walked in or misplacing your keys. However, there are some signs that your forgetfulness might warn of a more significant issue, like Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementia.
While this list is not comprehensive, it can give you a guide to know when a doctor visit might be warranted. Remember, while Alzheimer’s Diesease is not curable, the sooner it is diagnosed, the sooner treatment, education and coping skills are found that can make both the senior and family more comfortable.
Memory loss that affects daily life
The key to knowing if your forgetfulness is due to Alzheimer’s Disease is how your memory loss affects your daily life. If you are unable to do daily tasks, such as cooking meals or maintaining hygiene routines, without forgetting steps or becoming anxious, it is wise to talk to the doctor.
You are stressed out due to memory issues
Those with Alzheimer’s Disease know that they are forgetting during the early stages of the disease. This inability to retain information, or to make mistakes with otherwise normal tasks, can be unnerving and embarrassing. Many seniors living with early stage Alzheimer’s Disease are - in a word - stressed out. They are trying so hard to maintain tasks through to-do lists and reminders, but are often failing. The anxiety and stress alone can be a good reason to make a doctor appointment.
Problems with tasks that involve money
If you find that you are having difficulties solving problems that have to deal with numerical details, it can be a sign of concern. Balancing a checkbook or paying bills can seem like a Herculean task when you are living with early stage Alzheimer’s Disease.
Confusion is different than forgetfulness. If you find that you are confused to where you are or what time it is, it can be very scary. Finding yourself confused, whether driving along an otherwise familiar street or wandering throughout your home, should warrant a call to the doctor.
Word finding issues can be a sign of Alzheimer’s Disease, as can switching sentences or words around in conversation. If you find that you cannot find the word you are looking for often, or if you cannot follow the conversation around you, then you should share that information with your doctor.
Heading outside in the cold without a coat, or putting a frozen pizza into the toaster can be signs that there are issues with judgment. Often, it are “strange” decisions like these that can lead family members to seek out medical care for an aging parent.
Waiting to seek treatment or voice your concerns with a medical professional can sometimes have significant consequences. Those living with early stage Alzheimer’s Disease can become lost or make unsafe choices that can result in scary situations. Instead of waiting until something bad happens, trust your instincts and talk to your doctor if you are feeling worried about your memory issues. It is better to know sooner than living in the dark, anxious and worried.
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