Memory care can make a huge difference in the quality of life for someone who is dealing with dementia, Alzheimer's or another memory-related condition. It can also bring loved ones peace of mind knowing their relative is being cared for and can live a vibrant, active life in a safe location.
But how do you know if someone in your life is dealing with a memory-related disorder? And what should you do if you suspect that to be the case?
It's important to note that there's a difference between the occasional memory lapse that comes with getting older and a memory-related condition. People of all ages can experience temporary issues recalling events, words or even how to do something. And as we age, it's somewhat normal for the brain to do that a bit more often.
Memory disorders are more than these temporary lapses. They can be a fast degeneration of cognitive function that causes problems with memory and many other brain tasks.
If you're wondering if you or someone you know possibly has a memory-related condition, you should talk to a medical provider. But to help you understand whether something is a normal blip on the brain or a potential memory disorder, we've gathered some signs and symptoms below.
Those with dementia or Alzheimer's can have problems recalling things in a way that disrupts daily life. This issue is more severe typically in later phases of the disease process.
Some examples include:
• Forgetting the names of people who the individual has a long-standing relationship with. We're not talking about calling one of your children by the other child's name or forgetting the name of someone you met two days ago at church. Those with a memory care issue may not remember the names of neighbors they've known for months.
• Not remembering appointments and other obligations on a regular basis. There are other reasons this might happen, such as going through a stressful time, so it's important to look at the big picture.
• Not being able to recall plot elements to enough of a degree to enjoy a book or watch a television series.
Individuals with memory care disorders may not have the cognitive function to perform regular daily tasks safely or correctly. Depending on the severity of the disease process, this could mean not being able to install a toilet when someone was a veritable handyman all their lives. It could also mean not being able to cook for, feed or dress oneself.
Memory disorders impact more than just recall. If you notice that someone is experiencing issues with solving problems or communicating and they didn't normally have these issues, it can be a sign of something not going right in the brain.
Changes in the brain can also lead to a lack of judgment. Someone with a memory disorder may begin to engage in activities they wouldn't have before, including taking risks that seem out of character for them. This lack of judgment could also show up in smaller ways, such as someone suddenly not able to handle their own diet in a proactive way or buying things they don't have the money or need for.
As a memory disease changes the way the brain functions, people can demonstrate different moods or even changing personalities. Someone who was always kind and gentle may become belligerent and mean at times, or the reverse could be true.
Someone who is dealing with memory issues, especially in the early stages when they're aware that something is off, may isolate themselves from activities they used to enjoy. They might do this because they don’t want friends or family to know something is wrong or because they're embarrassed that they can't remember things or think like they used to.
In some cases, they may isolate because they don't enjoy the things they used to. Someone who used to dominate at and enjoy trivia night, for example, may experience grief and loss when they are no longer able to enjoy this activity in the same manner.
If you or your loved one is showing signs of a memory issue, it's important to act early. There are treatments and exercises that can help slow down the progression of these diseases in some cases. Consider talking to your general practitioner or encouraging your loved one to talk to a doctor. They can refer you to specialists with experience treating memory conditions.
And if the condition has reached a point where regular care is required, consider memory care services at Autumn View Gardens in Ellisville. Our caring staff ensure residents are able to participate in activities and social life while addressing health concerns such as nutrition, medication and safety.