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Posted by The Woodlands on November 1, 2023

Everyone has moments of forgetfulness, which can increase with age. For example, misplacing household items or losing track of names and dates might become more common. In most cases, these moments can be attributed to age-related memory loss, a natural part of aging.

However, for some, these moments might be the first signs of dementia or cognitive impairment. As a result, it can be challenging to differentiate between forgetfulness and symptoms of cognitive decline.

At The Woodlands at Canterfield, memory care means creating a roadmap to a clear path of support and care for your family’s journey. Our Navigate Memory Care program takes a holistic approach to build confidence and celebrate achievements by focusing on each individual’s unique abilities. 

If someone you love is starting to show signs of memory loss, our team is sharing information to help you differentiate between age-related forgetfulness and cognitive impairment and how to move forward.

Age-Related Forgetfulness

As people get older, they can expect various physical and mental changes. For example, hearing and vision changes are common in older adults, and muscles generally lose strength and flexibility, leading to decreased balance and an increased risk of falls.

In addition, forgetfulness or memory lapses can be a part of the aging process, such as taking longer to learn and retain new information or losing track of objects and items. However, it’s important to remember that memory loss is not the only sign of dementia and should not be immediately treated as a cause for concern. 

“Almost 40% of us will experience some form of memory loss after we turn 65 years old. But even if we experience memory loss, chances are still unlikely that we have dementia. For the most part, our memory loss is mild enough that we can still live our day-to-day lives without interruption (alzheimer.ca).”

Other Potential Causes of Memory Loss

Just as memory loss is not the only symptom of dementia, dementia is not the only reason an individual might be experiencing memory loss. Some medical conditions and environmental factors can cause forgetfulness, disorientation and other dementia-like symptoms.

It’s essential to rule out any of these potential causes and receive a proper diagnosis from a healthcare provider about treatment and care. Some examples of conditions that can cause dementia-like symptoms include:

  • Stroke
  • Lack of Sleep/Poor Sleep
  • Medication Side Effects
  • Diabetes
  • Genetics
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Heart Disease

Cognitive Decline & Dementia

While moments of age-related forgetfulness may be more common, they are very different from cognitive decline. For example, it’s common for an older adult to misplace their eyeglasses. However, if an individual can’t find their eyeglasses and finds them in the freezer or another strange location, this can be a sign that something is wrong. 

Signs that it might be time to talk to a doctor include:

  • Asking the same questions over and over
  • Getting lost or confused in familiar places like their neighborhood
  • Having difficulty following directions
  • Becoming increasingly confused about time, people or places 
  • Significant changes in behavior or personality

Dementia is not a normal part of aging, and it drastically affects a person’s quality of life, health and safety. If someone you love is showing any of the above signs, talk to a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause and receive a proper diagnosis.

When to Consider Memory Care

Many people living with dementia can live on their own during the early stages as symptoms are more mild. However, there will likely come a time when they can no longer live alone or need more care than you can provide at home. When that time comes, a memory care community can help.

With the right care and support, a person living with dementia can continue leading a life of joy and purpose. The Woodlands at Canterfield’s memory care community provides residents with the safe and comfortable spaces and opportunities they need to thrive. 

It can be difficult to know when it’s the right time to help your loved one transition to a memory care community. We want to help you navigate this journey. Contact our team at The Woodlands at Canterfield to learn how Navigate Memory Care can benefit your family.

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