Memory and Aging: Concerned About a Loved One?

With the upcoming holidays, families and friends gather. There are usually a lot of activities and a faster pace which may be something that an older adult may find a bit overwhelming. Sometimes family does not live nearby and the last visit may have been months to even a year ago.

Perhaps you notice something is different and then another day things seem pretty normal. Does it mean something? Should you be concerned? What resources are available? These are pretty common questions and you may even bring something up and find that your parents or a friend reassure that everything is fine. This is a situation I have seen repeatedly. When not addressd the issues may become more critical and impact safety, such as driving, nutrition, finances or taking medications.

AREAS OF CONCERN:

In the article Aging Parents, Do These Changes Mean Something Part 1 some of the areas addressed include increased complaints of forgetfulness, increased word finding difficulties and repetition of questions or information. These are changes that could indicate the need for a further assessment. Sometimes the changes are more in behavior and moodiness or a decreased interest and participation in activities. Part 2 addresses  additional areas of concern and the series of blogs  provides more information on some very important topics.

Looking back, I think that I did not catch the changes with my mom initially because she was able to readily compensate for the difficulties initially.  What became more apparent later was the gradual decrease in participation in activities which was partially due to a hearing loss but was also impacted by all the steps needed, like preparing a meal over the holidays for a large family gathering.

TO DO:

Learn more about the changes with normal aging and what else might indicate a need for further assessment. If you are talking to someone who has expressed a concern about a loved one or you hear some red flags mentioned,  consider passing along this information to them. It may not be something they will look at now but down the road they will be more aware and begin to connect with community resources .

“Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action.” Walter Anderson

Quick Link to all blogs and Memory Fitness Toolkit

About Kathryn Kilpatrick

Kathryn Kilpatrick received her Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology in 1968 from the University of Massachusetts. She has worked in a variety of settings, primarily in Ohio, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and for decades in the area of home health care. Kathryn is president of Memory Fitness Matters (www.memoryfitnessmatters.com) and Communication Connection(www.connectionsincommunication.com). She offers memory coaching for all ages and has a geriatric consulting practice. She is a national motivational speaker and author of more than 30 products to enhance communication and connection as well as a Memory Fitness Toolkit. Kathryn brings her decades of experience as a speech-language pathologist to all those wanting to enhance their quality of life, particularly when there are communication, memory and cognitive challenges. Her websites offer information on a wide variety of topics related to elder care concerns as well as memory fitness and successful aging.
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