Aging Parents and Memory Loss

Aging parents and memory loss are tough ones to talk about. Taking care of an older family or friend can be a tricky and difficult feat, and if you are not aware of everything that happens in old age, it can become overwhelming.

Aging Parents and Memory Loss

Between taking care of their parents and children, younger adults feel as though they are clouded with so many responsibilities they didn’t sign up for. However, as you go day after day, you may start to notice they forget things quite easily, and the fact that they become absent-minded is a little worrying.

Aging Parents and Memory Loss

Memory loss is a popular thing among older adults, and it comes for many different reasons.

As we age, our thinking skills and abilities may waiver, and simply forgetting things like where we put our car keys or remembering people’s names is nothing to worry about so much. However, losing memory is questionable when one forgets to turn off the stove when cooking so the food eventually burns or one forgets famous family locations.

Many people associate memory loss with chronic illnesses such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Should any of these signs occur, it is highly recommended to seek professional help to fix the conditions?

When Should I Be Concerned About My Parents Memory Loss?

If there is any concern about memory loss, it is vital to check with your doctor to assess better what’s going on. There are certain signs to look out for that indicate psychological treatment is needed. Some of these include…

  • Asking the same questions repeatedly
  • Losing one’s way in places that are popular and well-known to the individual
  • Not being able to follow set directions and guidelines efficiently
  • Self-care seems like a thing of the past as they are eating poorly, not cleaning themselves, taking well to safety measures.

Those with memory problems should have a check-up at the doctor every six months to a year, and if they can’t remember the dates on their own, get a calendar or ask a family or friend to remind them.

What Is The Difference Between Dementia and Old Age Memory Loss?

As a person gets older, their memory sometimes changes – meaning goes “on and off.” But, if it reaches the stage where their daily lives are being affected by this condition, then it could be a case of dementia. Age-related memory loss does not necessarily pull one away from reality, while dementia is known to basically “disable” one from functioning efficiently.

Dementia affects an individual’s language, critical thinking, judgment, and memory. However, if it gets to the point where their hobbies, family life, and social activities are deeply affected, it could be an onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

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What Are The 10 Warning Signs of Dementia?

If you notice your older relative is experiencing memory loss, it is not ideal for writing it off as dementia. There is more to it, and only when it starts to affect them deeply should you get worried. Here are a few warning signs to look out for to know when they might be developing dementia…

1. Difficulty in Finding Suitable Words

When you notice they have a problem communicating their thoughts effectively, meaning they can’t find the right words to express themselves, you should take action. If your regular conversations now take longer and are more difficult, you need to draw closer to them.

2. Problems With Short-term Memory

Their short-term memory becomes practically hard as they cannot really remember what they had for breakfast. However, you may realize they can remember things clearly that happened from when they were children. Forgetting why they entered a room or leaving some important papers, or even forgetting their plans for the day needs to be checked out.

3. Mood Swings

Heavy mood swings are prevalent among persons with dementia. This interesting thing is that the persons with the condition may not directly tell they have the problem but can easily identify it in others. Depression is an early stage of dementia. The individual’s personality may also change, and one of the most common signs of this is a shy person now loving the idea of going out.

4. Apathy

Loss of interest to do the things once loved could be an early sign to look out for. Their emotions become laid back, and they no longer get excited about going out. Also, they don’t feel so comfortable being around friends and family anymore.

5. Normal Tasks Now Hard

Having trouble completing regular and normal activities could be another major symptom. Do you notice they have trouble balancing their checkbooks or even adhering to rules in a game? It could very well be early dementia.

6. Confusion

Those with early dementia might be confused at the least thing they have to deal with. This results from them not being able to communicate efficiently, not remembering faces, and finding it hard to socialize with others.

7. Can’t Connect Stories

A classic early symptom of dementia is having difficulty keeping to a storyline. Forgetting the meaning of words and how to use them helps to make this problem more severe.

8. Failing Sense of Direction

A person with early dementia’s sense of direction slowly starts to deteriorate, which means they cannot easily identify landmarks and the particular routes they traveled on. Step-by-step instructions are also hard to understand.

9. Repeating Themselves

Do you notice they keep repeating themselves and not realizing they are doing that? Then, you are looking at an early sign of dementia. Daily activities such as shaving may be repeated up to three or more times in a single day. In addition to their conversation, they may repeat one thing several times.

10. Unable to Accept Change

They have a problem adapting to change, and doing so drives some level of fear in them. Remembering people, they are used to or not remembering what they went to the store for are concerns you need to take note of.

What Foods Are Bad For Dementia?

Research has shown that the risk of developing dementia through the food a person eats is more than what type of food it is and how the food is combined. Anything that falls under the unhealthy groups like sugar, fat, snacks, processed meat, alcohol, and heavy starches is risky.

It is reported that no more than 4 servings of red meats and other processed food should be given as this affects mental health. For fried food, whole-fat cheese and fast food should remain at one or no servings per week.

How Can Elderly Improve Their Memory?

Aging Parents and Memory Loss might be helped with these fun tricks! Improving memory for the elderly can be a routine thing they get used to, and, in return, it can help them diminish the onset of dementia. When looking at Aging Parents and Memory Loss, to improve their memory, seniors can…

  • Opt to learn new things and widen their knowledge span
  • Learn to interact more with those around them and others outside too
  • Try to avoid stress
  • Exercise regularly and live an active lifestyle
  • Play mind-thinking games (card games or chess could work well)
  • Keep a record of where to get help if it is needed.

How Can I Help My Elderly Parent With Memory Loss?

There are many ways to help your elderly parents keep their memory going strong, such as having regular conversations with them, going on nature walks with them, allowing them to munch on healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, and playing mind-thinking games with them. You can also give them doctor-prescribed medications as well as provide emotional and psychological support to them. 

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What Questions To Ask Aging Parents

There comes a time in life when we as children need to have “that talk” with our parents and hope to get the best response that will help them. So many times, illnesses strike and in the worse way too, so they end up tipping out earlier than usual. As they get older, are you aware of the relevant legal documentation you need to have in place should anything happen? Also, how are their future medical plans – will everything be ok in case an emergency strikes? There are a lot of questions to Ask Aging Parents.

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Well, either way, there are some questions you may need to ask your parents while they are still able to communicate effectively.

Top Ten Questions To Ask Aging Parents 

After all, memory loss illnesses like Alzheimer’s are a terrible thing and most times come on unexpectedly so while you can, here are some questions to ask your parents as they get older…

1. Do You Have a Durable Power of Attorney?

With a power of attorney, they permit someone to trust who will take care of all their affairs should anything happen to them. Every so often, when they get old, they become incapacitated and cannot make stable decisions on their own.

A power of attorney does not have to apply to one person as they can designate someone to look after their health decisions and one to look after their financial decisions (health and financial proxies, respectively). Also, one person may do both.

2. What are Your End-of-Life Wishes?

When looking at questions to Ask Aging Parents, this is important. Life is unpredictable, and you can never tell what will happen down the line as one gets older.

It is best to find out from them what they would desire in the future as it relates to their health choices. For instance, you can ask them their choice of feeding should they be unable to feed themselves (feeding tube, ventilator, etc.).

Also, should they experience a terminal condition like a coma or heart failure, would they want to be placed on life support or should we “pull the plug”? Whatever their decision, the health care proxy should be aware of it.

3. Do You Have a Will or Living Trust?

What happens to their money and possessions after they die should be their decision to make. A will or living trust will help to organize their belongings as well as who will get what and how much.

A lot of older adults, though, prefer to put their life earnings in trust and designate one or more persons to take charge in case they become incapacitated.

4. Do You Have Long-Term Care Insurance or Another Plan in Case Long-Term Care is Required?

Assisted living can be rather expensive, as the national average cost can be up to and over $3100. If not careful, a senior’s life savings can be gone in the blink of an eye, so having a long-term health care system in place will be a good option.

If they do have a long-term care plan in place, it is recommended you get a copy of the policy to read and ensure you fully understand it. Make a few calls to the insurer if you are unclear about anything.

5. Are All Your Documents Current and Updated?

You need to ensure all the documents mentioned above are up-to-date and have all the current information. Check to ensure your parents understand everything with regards to any possible changes.

What do you talk about with aging parents?

6. Where Can I Find These Documents If I Ever Need Them?

You wouldn’t think about this question unless your parent had a sudden stroke and could no longer talk. It can be a hard thing to talk about but it is one of those important questions to Ask Aging Parents.

Our parents sure know how to put stuff up and then not being able to find them in the case of an emergency. As such, it may not be the best decision to let your parents keep them if you are not able to find them on your own.

Should they have a safe or security box at home, this may be an ideal place to keep them and a trusted family member having access. If they are in a fire-safe, a confidant is needed to share the code with the parent.

7. Do You Have a Financial Advisor?

Finance and health are two of the most critical aspects of their life, and the best interest is needed for their well-being. At this stage, you need to find out if they have a financial advisor who is giving them advice, and if such, can they be trusted?

Getting this information will help you to know if your parents’ advisor is of reputable standing and you will also know who to reach in case of an emergency.

8. If You Can No Longer Take Care of Yourself, How Would You Prefer To Live?

Their plans are the gateway to making them live a healthy and happy life in their last years. You want to ensure you have the little chat with them before time draws in too close. You want to ensure you get your parents to make plans soon enough in their life, so at least basic strategies can be put in place.

When they reach the stage where they can no longer live by themselves, you want to give them the preference of choosing their future living options. Would they prefer to be placed in an assisted care center?

Or, do they want to have live-in help and a nurse? Also, you can suggest to them living with you and see what their response will be. Be mindful that future health care plans may be expensive, so the earlier the talk, the better arrangements can be put in place.

9. Do You Have Regular Medical Check-ups?

Health complications can result in your parents having to visit different types of specialists in addition to their primary healthcare provider. Should your parents become sick or hospitalized, health records from one or more of these doctors will be critical to treating and taking care of them.

You will want to get contact details for these physicians in case of an emergency. On the flip side, some parents prefer to use home remedies from TV or radio doctors so you may want to be aware of that too.

10. Do You Understand the Need for Your Prescribed Medications?

This is huge on the list of questions to Ask Aging Parents. When your parents reach a certain age, they may end up taking a high quantity of prescribed medications.

Getting them to discuss this will help you to understand what they are taking and what it is for, as well as if they can handle them on their own. Knowing their medication schedule and their doctor’s contact will help should a medical crisis arise.

You want to ensure your parents are in the best shape and position when they reach the stage they can no longer manage on their own. It is now your responsibility to help them get organized, as we all know…life is unpredictable.  

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