Memory impairment conditions are becoming increasingly prevalent in the United States. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “About 40% of people aged 65 or older have age-associated memory impairment—in the United States, about 16 million people.”
With the growing number of older adults experiencing memory impairment, there is an increased need for recognition and treatment of the condition. Whether your loved one already has a diagnosis, or they are starting to exhibit the symptoms of memory impairment, it is essential to closely monitor them to ensure they are receiving the care they need.
What is Memory Impairment?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), memory impairment is defined as "confusion or memory loss that is happening more often or is getting worse during the past 12 months." Although this definition may seem reasonably clear, there is more than one type of memory impairment, and they each have different symptoms. Mild cognitive impairment, vascular dementia and Alzheimer's are all considered common types of memory impairment.
Memory impairment differs from being forgetful because it involves repeatedly forgetting significant dates or misplacing objects that your loved one doesn't usually lose. If your loved one forgets to lock the door or misplaces their car keys, it doesn't necessarily mean they have a memory problem. It's normal for older adults to forget things quickly, but it becomes an issue when it begins to impede on their ability to live independently or complete daily tasks.
Signs of Memory Impairment
Each cognitive impairment condition is unique in the symptoms they exhibit. Because they all are related to memory and the brain, some of the symptoms can be similar, but what causes the symptoms can be entirely different. For example, vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s have similar symptoms, but vascular dementia is caused by a lack of blood flow to a portion of the brain, while Alzheimer’s is not.
If you believe that your loved one is experiencing a form of memory impairment, look for these signs:
Frequent, sudden urges to urinate
Troubling holding a conversation
Repeatedly forgetting important things
Inability to organize thoughts
These signs vary between each condition, but should all be of concern if you notice your loved one dealing with any of these symptoms. We recommend speaking to a professional and have an assessment done if you are skeptical about their condition.
How You Can Help Your Loved One
When you have a loved one that is dealing with memory impairment, it can be a challenging experience. The best thing to do for your loved one is to have them treated by a professional that specializes in memory impairment conditions. Even if the symptoms are not severe, it's possible for the condition to be in the infant stages and it's best to catch it before it progresses.
Another thing that you can do for them is to be present for them — seniors that experience cognitive impairment can feel alone and lost. Speaking to your loved one about their condition can help them understand the situation better, and make them more comfortable.
At Franklin Park, our communities offer high-quality memory care services that will ensure your loved one is taken care of respectfully. Our team specializes in caring for seniors that have memory impairment problems, and our community dedicates itself to helping your loved one manage their condition.
Contact us today to learn more about Franklin Park memory care services.