Even if you’re keeping a close eye on your senior loved one, some warning signs of a memory disorder can slip by you. Some signs aren’t as obvious as simply forgetting appointments, names, or past events. In fact, some symptoms of memory disorders can actually be mistaken as symptoms of another health issue, when in reality there are multiple causes. Brightwater Senior Living has compiled a list of common warning signs of a memory disorder to help you stay on your guard.
Frequent Pauses in Speech or Mixing Up Words
Even when they’re talking about familiar things, like the weather or their mood, you may notice your loved one stumbling over words and pausing frequently. Even if they eventually regain their bearings, this is one of the first and most common signs of memory loss. Additionally, your loved one may unintentionally replace one word with another, like “kitchen” in place of “yard” or “bed” instead of “couch.” Sometimes, they won’t pause when mixing up these words.
Trouble Following Recipes or Directions
Whether it’s a recipe, directions you’ve given them, or a daily routine they’ve done for years, if your loved one is suddenly encountering hiccups while undergoing these tasks, it can be a red flag. You may notice that they’re taking longer to do things like cook or do chores – this can be because they have to keep reminding themselves what stage they’re at in the process and what to do next.
Mood Swings or Changes
If you notice your loved one’s mood significantly changing in a short period of time, be on your guard. This includes both sudden mood swings and a gradual increase in symptoms of depression, such as listlessness and lack of motivation. Recent studies show that these mood changes can present even earlier than most other signs of memory loss.
While forgetting where they’ve put an item is normal for seniors, if you start finding your loved one’s possessions in strange places, it could be a symptom of a memory disorder. Examples may include things like putting their wallet in the fridge, their keys in a flowerpot, or their shoes in the bed. If they start misplacing things like their phone or medication, these slips could go from irritating to dangerous, and you may need to start looking into extra assistance.
Seeing your senior loved one undergo memory loss is never easy. Catching it early can help in coping with it over time. We hope that these tips will help you recognize some of the early warning signs. For more information on memory loss and how to deal with it, check out the Brightwater blog.