Monitoring the well-being of aging parents is complicated for California children who do not live nearby. Video chats and phone calls are helpful, but they don’t tell the whole story, especially if seniors develop memory problems. Fortunately, families usually get together during the holidays, which gives younger members a chance to assess elders’ welfare.
During visits, children have a chance to determine whether parents suffer from memory issues, which are common in the elderly and can be severe. A certain amount of age-related memory loss is normal but shouldn’t prevent seniors from leading full lives. There’s no cause for worry if an aging relative forgets someone’s name or occasionally misplaces items. While these minor changes are manageable, other indicators could mean seniors need assistance with their daily lives.
There Are Changes in Behavior and Moods
It can be difficult to gauge an aging parent’s mental state over the phone, but swiftly changing moods and unusual behavior become evident in person. They can be a sign of cognitive decline. For example, a sweet, caring mother may start to become angry quickly. A good-natured Dad seems withdrawn and depressed.
An occasional bad mood doesn’t always point to serious problems since the holidays can cause a lot of stress for anyone. However, noticeable and consistent behavioral changes can be early indicators of dementia.
Signs of severe memory loss issues include confusion, getting lost when walking or driving to familiar places, and difficulty reading a book or following conversations. A medical professional can diagnose conditions such as Alzheimer’s and explain why some seniors need help from memory care professionals.
Seniors’ Appearance Changes Dramatically
Assessing parents’ grooming also provides valuable clues about their overall well-being. If a person has always been neat and particular about their clothing, but it is now dirty, and their hair is unwashed, something is amiss. These kinds of problems may be due to physical limitations, but they often signal cognitive decline.
Elders who are developing memory issues may also look frail and unwell. They could be mixing up medications or not taking them. As dementia progresses, seniors can forget to bathe, change their clothes, or even eat.
A doctor can determine whether problems are due to physical issues or memory loss. If aging loved ones are developing dementia, they may be safer and happier in a California senior community that provides options tailored to residents with memory loss.
The Home Environment Has Changed
The condition of elders’ homes also says a lot about their overall well-being. Some seniors who have always been sticklers about housekeeping become more relaxed if they live alone and no longer consider home chores a priority. But, if children notice that a parent’s home is looking noticeably shabby and disorderly, memory issues could be the culprit.
Misplacing items in the wrong places is a common sign of dementia and can result in clutter and confusion. Family members should look for signs of scorched cookware that indicate a parent forgot they were cooking. Seniors with dementia often forget to do everyday tasks, including laundry and shopping for groceries.
According to the Mayo Clinic, some memory loss is reversible, such as issues caused by medications, head trauma, alcoholism, and hypothyroidism, and a doctor can identify these conditions. However, if seniors neglect their homes due to dementia, they often fare better when they move to a senior living community.
Seniors Are Not Attending to Bills and Papers
Unopened mail, unpaid bills, and piles of documents can signify that seniors are developing memory issues. Per AARP professionals, these indicators could signal physical or emotional as well as cognitive problems. The solution to organizing elders’ business matters varies according to their situation.
If progressive memory loss is the issue, children may want to take over financial matters or hire a professional for the job. When problems are temporary, simply organizing seniors’ affairs and taking over partial responsibilities may be enough.
Pet Care Is Suffering
The condition of parents’ pets can provide clues to parents’ cognitive health. For instance, an overflowing litter box or a birdcage that hasn’t been changed in a long time can signal problems. A dog with matted, dirty fur and overgrown claws may signify physical or mental issues that prevent elders from caring for their pets.
If aged loved ones are well enough to remain at home, family members may help them by hiring a dog walking service or mobile pet groomers. Knowing their pets are healthy eases seniors’ minds and allows them to enjoy their animals.
Holiday visits give children a chance to check on aging parents who live a distance away. During visits, family members can spot signs that parents may be developing memory issues and then decide on the best course of action. Indicators of memory loss and cognitive decline include poor grooming and housekeeping, radical behavioral changes, neglected bills and documents, and poorly cared for pets.
Summerfield of Fresno is a senior living community offering memory care services in an elegant, vibrant setting. Residents live in beautifully furnished suites, have access to a menu of amenities, and are provided with care that supports every aspect of their well-being.