Two people holding hands.

10 Warning Signs of Memory Loss in the Elderly

It is very normal to be concerned about the memory of your older loved ones. Figuring out what is a normal part of aging and what is a red flag for dementia is a task that most of us have not been adequately prepared for. The good news is that most memory loss is caused by a treatable condition! This means that early detection of cognitive impairment is incredibly important.

There are three levels of memory loss to know:

  1. Normal aging includes some degree of forgetfulness in the elderly. This includes minorly disruptive events such as walking into a room to get something and forgetting what you were looking for.
  2. Mild Cognitive Impairment, also called MCI, is a more significant decline in one or more areas of thinking skills. If your loved one is experiencing MCI, this may or may not be a progressive impairment. MCI is still being researched.
  3. Dementia is an umbrella term that usually describes a progressive condition that can cause impairment in memory, judgment, reasoning, language, and other thinking skills. This is the most severe form of memory loss in the elderly.

(Mayo Clinic)

If you believe your loved one is struggling with any level of cognitive decline, it is crucial to talk to their doctor about their symptoms. These are the ten warning signs of memory loss in elderly populations:

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks
  4. Confusion with time or place
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  8. Decreased or poor judgment
  9. Withdraw from work or social activities
  10. Changes in mood or personality

(Alzheimer’s Association)

Early detection is the best thing you can do for an elderly person with signs of memory loss. Don’t wait, talk to a doctor today.

Early Signs of Memory Loss in the Elderly

An older woman looks into the distance.

Early detection of cognitive issues is hugely important for senior populations. Is it regular forgetfulness in the elderly or an important warning sign? Identifying the root cause early can make a huge difference in your loved one’s outcome. Proper diagnosis is vital in order to make an appropriate treatment plan.

Mild forgetfulness is an expected part of aging, and not necessarily indicative of an MCI or memory loss. You do not need to panic if your loved one shows a gradual increase in elderly forgetfulness, but it is important to share symptoms with their doctor. Potential early symptoms of forgetfulness and memory loss include:

  1. Repeating the same question multiple times
  2. Getting lost or confused in a familiar place
  3. Difficulty following directions, such as recipes
  4. Confusion about people, places, and time
  5. Difficulty caring for oneself
  6. Losing things
  7. Forgetting appointments
  8. Struggling with words

(National Institute on Aging)

How to Help the Elderly with Forgetfulness

As you know, the most important thing you can do to help someone with elderly memory loss is to talk to their doctor. But that’s not the only way to help. There are many ways to support a family member struggling with elderly forgetfulness:

  • Practicing hobbies and learning new skills with them
  • Helping them follow a daily routine
  • Encouraging them to plan tasks, make to-do lists, and use memory tools like calendars and sticky notes
  • Organizing their space with them so they can find important objects
  • Keeping them involved with activities
  • Keeping their social calendar active with family, friends, and pets
  • Volunteering with them
  • Encouraging sleep, exercise, and other self-care and hygiene habits

(National Institue on Aging)

Signs of Memory Loss in Seniors

Witnessing memory loss in our loved ones can be a scary and isolating experience. You are not alone, and there is hope. Most cognitive impairments are caused by treatable conditions. Early detection provides the best outcomes for those struggling with elderly memory loss.

Whether your loved one is experiencing regular forgetfulness with aging or is living with MCI or dementia, we are here for them and you.

Our dedicated and caring staff are eager to support you as you care for your loved one. We believe in celebrating and respecting their unique story and identity in all aspects of our treatment. Reach out today to see how fun and special our community is!

Learn more about our Memory Care services.

Published On: December 13, 2023