Lots of people who are facing normal memory issues and cognitive changes get very worried that what they’re actually experiencing is the beginning of dementia. If your senior has expressed that fear to you, there may be some things you can do to gather some data to take to her doctor.
Start Keeping Track of What’s Happening
The first step if your elderly family member is concerned about recent memory issues is to encourage her to write down what she’s experiencing. What are you noticing? Are there any details that make you feel as if she’s having a bigger problem than just regular memory glitches? Both of you need to write down as much as you can and keep track of those details for at least a few days. You can start to see patterns in what’s being captured, but this also gives you detailed information to take to her doctor.
What Else Might Be a Factor?
There’s a lot that goes into memory troubles. If the situation is something big, like dementia, these details might make some days worse than others. For instance, if your elderly family member isn’t sleeping well, does she have more trouble with her memory? What types of food is she eating on a regular basis? Is she drinking plenty of water? All of this can have a much bigger effect on her ability to manage her memory and to think than she realizes.
Are Other Family Members Noticing Things?
If other family members are taking you aside and mentioning that they’re noticing something seems a little off, talk to them about those experiences. What exactly are they noticing? The more details they can give you, the better. You’ll be able to add that to what you and your senior are already collecting.
Bring it All to Her Doctor
The next step is to talk to your senior’s doctor about what’s going on. There are some tests that her doctor can run to take a look at her overall health as well as her brain health. From there, you might be able to address other situations you might not have considered, like how certain medications are affecting your senior. Once you know for sure what you’re dealing with you can make a more detailed plan.
Just because your senior is worried that doesn’t mean that this is the worst-case scenario. If she feels uncomfortable being alone, it might be time to bring in elderly care providers. Elderly care providers can help her to feel more secure and may help you to see anything else you’ve been missing.