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Is it Normal Memory Loss or Mental Illness?

Some minor cognitive and physical issues are expected as we age. However, knowing the symptoms of mental illness can help caregivers identify more serious issues quickly and get a senior loved one the help he or she needs. Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of dementia care in Summit, bring you these seven signs a senior loved one might be struggling with mental illness.

1. Memory Loss

Small degrees of memory loss are a normal part of the aging process, but when it impairs normal life it may be a sign of a deeper problem. Larger scale problems such as repeating the same questions during the day or accusing loved ones of hiding items often indicate cognitive impairment.

2. Disorientation and Confusion

There are several different causes of disorientation that are frequently found in the elderly. These conditions include strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia. Confusion that continues over a longer period of time without improvement could indicate mental illness.

3. Physical Limitations

Simple tasks such as making a phone call, operating a stove, or using a remote control device can become difficult for those experiencing the beginning stages of mental illness.

4. Loss of Visuospatial Abilities

Visuospatial skills are how people conceptualize things visually. Problems in this area are why people get lost in familiar settings. There is a direct correlation between dementia and the loss of visuospatial skills.

5. Language Confusion

Diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and stroke can hinder a person’s ability to communicate effectively. When certain areas of the brain are damaged, speech and comprehension becomes difficult. You may notice your loved one forgetting the names of everyday objects or confusing words (like using desk for stove).

6. Depression

The risk of depression is considerably higher when it is linked to a mental illness. Depression is not part of the aging process, so depression lasting longer than two weeks is often an indicator of a larger problem in an aging adult.

7. Changes in Appetite

Senior’s may experience a normal change in their senses (like a decreased sense of taste or smell), which causes them to view food differently. Aging adults with a mental illness display changes in eating behaviors like decreased appetite or forgetting to eat.

If you’d like to learn more about dementia care for your elderly relative, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Summit, NJ. We specialize in 24-hour live-in care for seniors, and our caregivers are specially trained to manage the complex symptoms of advanced illnesses like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Call 908.450.9400 to speak with a kind and knowledgeable Care Manager today.