Aging adults experience all sorts of changes over time, including mild cognitive differences compared to when they were younger. Some of these changes indicate mild cognitive impairment which could later turn into Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Recognizing these signs early allows families to get help from Alzheimer’s care services.
Forgetting Important Events
Seniors often worry about being forgetful, but for the most part, it’s not a serious problem. Forgetting important events, appointments, and significant dates could be a different story, however. This type of memory loss can worsen over time, with seniors having more trouble keeping track of important items, remembering recent conversations, and more.
Losing Threads of Conversation or Plot
For some seniors, there are more difficulties than simply remembering recent conversations. One sign that they may be having more trouble is when they aren’t able to keep up with what’s happening in a current conversation. Starting a sentence and struggling to complete it or having trouble participating in a conversation are signs of trouble. Seniors may also have problems keeping track of what’s happening on a television show or movie, even a favorite one.
Difficulty Navigating Familiar Places
Familiar places are often where most people are comfortable and feel secure. But for seniors with mild cognitive impairment, familiar places may start to become more challenging. Seniors may become disoriented or lose track of where they are, regardless of how well they know the location. When this starts happening, seniors should consider having Alzheimer’s care providers with them, just in case they become disoriented.
Worsening Judgment or Impulsivity
Another sign of mild cognitive impairment can be seniors suddenly having difficulty making decisions in a reasonable way. They may show poor judgment or make impulsive, out-of-character decisions that are downright dangerous. These types of decisions are often connected with personal safety or financial decisions.
For many seniors, lack of interest or motivation is another sign that there are cognitive changes happening. This apathy can cause seniors to drop hobbies and activities that they used to love engaging in regularly. They may also start to withdraw from people they love, leading to other problems like social isolation.
Mood changes and issues are also common for seniors with mild cognitive impairment. Life becomes more frustrating, even for seniors who in the past have had an even, calm temperament. These mood changes can cause friction and big problems with the people that seniors love, leading to isolation and loneliness.
Navigating these challenges is not always easy to do, either for the seniors experiencing the changes or the family caregivers who are helping them. Getting help from Alzheimer’s care providers is a vital way to ensure that families have the support that they need in order to keep seniors safe, healthy, and happy. Having help on hand can also make it easier for families to get an accurate diagnosis for their senior’s mild cognitive impairment, even if that diagnosis means that there are bigger changes coming due to dementia and other cognitive illnesses.