There are always things to worry about when you have a senior parent, particularly if they are living alone. You might find yourself growing concerned if they have had a slip or fall recently, or if you feel as though they are struggling with loneliness. Then there is also the worry that their general health is declining, including the cognitive functions. Dementia and Alzheimer’s are unfortunately not uncommon issues within the senior community, and these conditions will require a change in lifestyle and specialist support. If you’re not sure if your senior parent is developing dementia, here are a few things to look out for.
The most well-known symptom of dementia is memory loss, but this means more than just struggling to remember something that happened a few years ago. If your parent can’t recall a conversation you had the day before, or even a couple of hours before, this is more concerning. They might also forget who people are, despite knowing these individuals for a long time. If you have noticed your senior parent becoming increasingly forgetful, think about getting them in to see a doctor for tests. You can even look at getting a self pay MRI scan if you don’t want to wait for a doctor’s referral.
Struggle to Do Daily Tasks
Another sign that things aren’t quite right is if your senior parent is starting to struggle to do basic daily tasks. It’s important to note that this might not necessarily be a symptom of dementia and that it could be that they have a physical condition that is making these tasks difficult, such as arthritis or they have limited mobility. However, if there is no sign of physical issues and it appears to be more cognitive, this could be dementia.
If your senior parent has started to have mood swings, this is another cause for concern. A lot of things can trigger mood swings, but if there isn’t anything else going on in their life that would be the obvious cause, then it could be a sign of dementia. This might be due to their frustration if they are struggling to do basic tasks or remember things, or they might be scared about what is happening to them. This might also be the way they express that they are in pain or are hungry, or even bored if they can’t manage to communicate those things as they once would have.
You might have also noticed that your senior parent can’t keep up with a conversation, or perhaps they become easily distracted when they are in the middle of a task? Difficulty concentrating is not uncommon with dementia patients, and this can be dangerous at times in case they accidentally leave the stove on, or a tap running somewhere in the house. This is why if your senior parent does have dementia, thinking about hiring a professional carer or looking at getting them into a specialist memory care living facility is something you should consider.
While these symptoms can indicate other issues, if you are noticing more than one of these in your senior parent, it could be that they are developing dementia. For peace of mind and a correct diagnosis, make an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible.