The holidays are a time that we spend with family and friends. For some people, this is a chance to reunite with their loved ones who we may not regularly see throughout the year.

While the holidays are a chance to catch up, eat, drink, and be merry – they are also a time when we may notice changes in our loved ones. Maybe you notice a parent is having trouble recalling a name or remembering their famous cookie recipe.

Many will brush it off, as memory issues are common for older adults. However, they could be experiencing symptoms of Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, which is not a normal part of aging.

While this may not be the case, it is crucial to know the signs and take the proper steps to determine the underlying cause. This way, they can receive the appropriate treatment.

While it is good to be aware of the signs of Alzheimer’s and other dementia-causing diseases, the best way to know for sure is to speak with your primary care provider. Many other diagnoses can mimic dementia symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, UTIs, or other unrelated conditions. They can complete a full assessment to see if there are any other underlying causes of confusion, forgetfulness, or any symptom your loved one may be experiencing.

While signs of mild cognitive impairment CAN be an early sign of Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia – it could also be something else. However, there are some clear signs that your loved one may be experiencing dementia.

Here are some warning signs of dementia vs. cognitive impairment:

 Mild Cognitive Impairment
● Forgetfulness – This can be something like forgetting where you placed your keys or forgetting about an appointment.
● Difficulty wordfinding – If you have difficulty wordfinding – you may know what an item is and what it does but have difficulty recalling its name.
● Difficulty with more complex tasks – It may be more challenging to focus on complicated tasks such as money management.

Early Dementia
● Difficulty performing basic/familiar tasks – These could be showering, going to the toilet, brushing teeth, etc.
● Impairment in reasoning – Your loved one may be doing things that don’t seem to have an explanation, for example going outside in the snow without proper clothing.
● Difficulty expressing their needs – A person experiencing memory loss will need more people to determine what is going on or what they need.

If your loved one is diagnosed with any form of dementia, it is crucial that they receive the right care to help manage their symptoms

Loretto is committed to providing innovative memory care that will help your loved one live life to the fullest at a place made with them in mind. As the region’s most advanced provider in memory care, our memory life communities provide specialized services, cutting-edge technology, and treatment to enhance your loved one’s quality of life and optimize your time together.

Learn more about Loretto’s memory life communities.

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