Is It Dementia or Just Forgetfulness? The Steps to Take If You Have Concerns About Your Loved One’s Memory

Dec 23, 2022

If you have noticed your loved one forgetting things like the day of the week, what time of day it is or how to perform day-to-day tasks like tying their shoes, these could be signs of memory issues that go beyond just being forgetful.

But what do you do? Do you discuss your concerns with your loved one? Do you call his or her doctor? The most important first step is to get answers, and the sooner the better. Here’s what we recommend.

Plan the Conversation

Spend some time thinking about how to approach your loved one about your concerns. In addition to what you will say, carefully consider when and where the conversation should happen. It’s recommended to talk in a private place when your loved one is relaxed and receptive.

Document Worrisome Instances

So that you can organize your thoughts, write down things that you’re noticing, including the date, time and location. This will provide a valuable record of frequency, as well as back up your concerns.

Consider Alternative Causes

Mental confusion and forgetfulness can be symptoms of other issues, like medication side effects, disruptions in daily life, physical health issues and stress. Become familiar with the early stages of dementia, but be open to the possibility of other reasons.

Confer With Other Family Members

Talk to other close family members to see if they’ve also noticed anything. Bring up your concerns and get their opinion as to whether they agree or what they think should be the next step.

Have the Discussion With Your Loved One

Often, people become aware of their own memory problems. Talk to your loved one in a compassionate way and see if they are concerned or worried.

Encourage Your Loved One to Get a Professional Diagnosis

Explain to your loved one the importance of a professional diagnosis. Let them know that finding out as soon as possible will enable you and them to make appropriate plans. Be patient. If your loved one doesn’t agree at first, just let them sit with the decision for a few days.

Eventually, they will likely come around to your viewpoint and agree to see a doctor.

If the professional diagnosis comes back and it turns out you were right about your hunch, the next step is to get help from qualified healthcare providers. Your loved one will need some time to process the diagnosis. But this is when you need professional support, too.

You and your loved one need memory care assistance from a facility that will evaluate and consider your loved one’s whole health, and guide you through the stages of cognitive decline.

At Diamondback Healthcare Center, our Memory Care Pavilion provides those with memory impairments with long-term comfort provided by a skilled nursing staff who cares for their every need around the clock. You can schedule a visit by calling (623) 303-2882 or contacting us online.