Your dad called you and said you haven’t spoken in a while, but you just spoke to him that morning. He doesn’t remember that conversation, but he was just getting out of bed. He forgot where he put his glasses, and you finally found them in his bed. How do you know if his forgetfulness is just normal aging or something more?
Is It Happening Now and Then or Always?
When your dad called you and forgot he’d already called earlier, does that happen consistently or now and then? If it occurs inconsistently, it’s not concerning. If the forgetfulness is constant, you should be more concerned.
It’s not always dementia, but it could be. Just don’t forget that stress and anxiety also make it easy to forget. If your dad called in a panic for some reason, he might lose track of who he called already and who he didn’t.
He’s Losing Items
Your dad can’t remember where he put his glasses. You found them in his bed. That’s the third time this week. If he is constantly losing track of his belongings, it’s a little more concerning if he forgets where he put something once in a while.
When he does lose track of something, can he retrace his steps? If he can’t remember enough to retrace his steps, it’s less likely to be normal age-related forgetfulness.
His Bills Aren’t Paid
Your dad had a lot of appointments this month. You notice he didn’t pay his electricity bill. His phone bill also didn’t get paid. Forgetting to pay a bill happens. It’s not necessarily a problem. If he’s received a stack of late payment or disconnection notices, that is more concerning.
He Doesn’t Know Where He Is or When It Is
Forgetting where you live is a common sign of dementia. If your dad recently moved, it’s understandable that he’d quickly lose track of where he is. Forgetting the day of the week or date is pretty common. If he can’t remember what year it is or can’t remember the date all of the time, that’s worth talking to his doctor about his memory loss.
Talk About Care Services as Early as Possible
Even if he is showing signs of dementia, there are other reasons for the memory loss. He might have a head injury after falling. It can be a side effect of his medications. He could have a blood clot in his brain that needs addressing. Depression, thyroid issues, and malnutrition can also cause memory loss.
As so many things can cause memory loss, he should see his doctor. It’s best to rule out other health issues than delay treatments. If it is dementia, some medications can slow the progression of the symptoms.
After talking to his doctor, make sure you have the right elderly care plan arranged for your dad’s changing health. If his memory loss is linked to dementia, he needs support as his disease progresses. An elderly care specialist can walk you through the available services and discuss pricing.