It’s something that everyone thinks about, something we hope we’ll never have to deal with: the time when our parents start showing clear signs of serious memory problems. Of course, in many cases, people live their entire lives with their memories and cognitive faculties intact, so it may not be something that affects you directly. However, with one out of every ten seniors over 65 suffering from some form of dementia or memory problem, it is an issue that affects society on a massive level.
Before we dive into ways of recognizing and coping with the issue, a quick word concerning ageism and astigmatism:
- Astigmatism – Even in the general population, one in every four people are afflicted with some form of mental health issue. Anxiety and depression have become something of a hidden epidemic in western society, and until we bring these problems out in the open and create a meaningful dialogue, millions will continue to suffer in silence. Similarly, dementia in our parents and loved ones reminds us that we will one day get old and perhaps suffer from the same condition. These stages are a natural part of life and should be embraced openly, rather than swept under the rug.
- Ageism – Just because someone is in the later stage of life and has trouble with their memory, it doesn’t mean that their experience is less than that of a younger, nimbler minded individual. Elders possess the valuable wisdom of a lifetime, even if it can’t always be expressed concisely. Being patient and taking the time to listen can certainly teach you something important.
Signs of Dementia
The Early Stage – The earliest signs of dementia are indistinguishable from garden-variety forgetfulness, and therefore dementia doesn’t really cause problems in its earliest stage – everyone is forgetful, and especially so as they age. The real problem starts when dementia starts affecting the language center of the brain and basic short-term memory.
Frustration, Mood Swings and Diagnosis – There’s a misconception that dementia simply erases people’s memories rendering them confused and disoriented. Actually, it’s more complicated than that; dementia makes it difficult for some seniors to access basic words in their vocabulary when having a conversation. If you’ve ever been fishing for a word that’s on the tip of your tongue, you’ll understand how incredibly frustrating this can be. Forgetting words, appointments and dates with friends may slowly bring about the realization that someone is slipping into dementia. This realization can lead to denial and defensive posturing, making diagnosis and treatment difficult to move towards.
Necessity of Perpetual Assistance – Because there is no cure or reversal available, seeking help and establishing preventative measures quickly is important. People afflicted with dementia have difficulty keeping track of time and sometimes forget where they are, causing them to grow panicked. Thus, often retirement residences are the best option for folks who need memory care and reliable schedules and surroundings.
What Can You Do?
Sometimes placing a parent or loved one in a retirement residence that can accommodate people with memory care concerns is the only viable option. If you’re interested in researching the type of retirement residence that provides services like sensory rooms, round the clock assistance and an easy to navigate space, you can learn more from All Seniors Care Living Centres. Experiencing memory care problems can be a scary thing, but just because someone suffers from dementia, it doesn’t mean that a high quality of life is out of reach.