What might Alzheimer’s look like? | Avalon Memory Care

What might Alzheimer’s look like?

What might Alzheimer’s look like?

Noticing the early signs in your parents.

Over the past two years, families have had to forgo a lot of together time due to the Covid restrictions, so it’s no surprise that many of us can go months without being in the same room as our aging parents. If you’ve been communicating with your mom or dad primarily by phone or facetime, you might notice some worrisome changes when you’re finally in the same room together.

And while the most active parent will naturally slow down a bit over time, some signs warrant further investigation:

Repeating the same question or story. Everyone has moments when they forget they’ve told an account already, but if you notice your mom asking you the same question repeatedly or that your dad is telling you about the neighbors for the third time in an hour, they could be struggling with short term memory.

Confusion about how much time has passed, problems with time management. Alzheimer’s disease damages the part of the brain responsible for processing the passage of time, so your parent might think you’ve been gone hours when it’s only been a few minutes, or they might say that they hadn’t seen you in several years when it was just last month.

Failing to recognize or remember people. We all know how much family members can change, especially children, but if your parent struggles to remember loved ones, they could be showing signs of dementia.

Changes in appearance. Is your ordinarily polished mom looking disheveled? Has your dad lost a lot of weight? Check the refrigerator and cupboards for fresh food or signs of a recent trip to the grocery store. They may be forgetting meals.

Difficulty following the conversation. Hearing loss makes group conversations more challenging, but if your parent is not processing your one-on-one conversation, it may signify some cognitive challenges.

Poor judgment. Maybe you’re always practical dad is suddenly spending large amounts of money or crossing the street while traffic is coming. One of the early signs of Alzheimer’s is the inability to assess short- and long-term consequences, so your parent might not understand the implications of their actions.

Dents in the car. Driving is a complex brain task involving many brain areas at once. Cognitively impaired drivers are a danger to themselves and everyone else. If you see dents or scratches on the car, it’s a strong indicator that your parent is struggling.

Mail or bills left unopened. Take note of untouched paperwork. Although we all procrastinate, people with dementia frequently avoid complex tasks like answering mail and paying bills.

A decline in the household management. Aging parents naturally might fall behind on large-scale or highly physical tasks like yard work, but if your parents are not washing the dishes or doing the laundry, take some time to investigate what’s happening. They may be forgetting to do those chores.

Mood changes or personality changes. An early indicator of dementia is a personality change. If your mom’s sunny disposition is angry or your friendly dad withdraws from others, they could be suffering from cognitive changes or depression.

If the change in your mom or dad is dramatic or dangerous, it’s time to make an appointment with their general practitioner for a complete evaluation. You’ll want to accompany your parent to this appointment and communicate with the doctor in advance about any cognitive changes you’ve seen.

If the changes are slight, there is no reason to overwhelm your parent with your concerns. Spend time together and see if your parent brings up any problems they’ve been having. Enjoy your time together and plan to keep a closer eye on them in the coming months. Talk to your siblings or your parent’s friends and neighbors and get their perspective. Enlist a few family members to check in regularly or start talking with your parent about having some additional help.

Remember, it can be hard to judge how your parent is doing in just a few busy days. Holidays aren’t always the best time to evaluate the situation, so make plans to check in on regular days too. See if your parent is following through on planned doctor’s appointments or getting to their regular events.

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“Since my mother has lived at Avalon, I have had peace of mind for the first time since Alzheimer’s began to exact its terrible price from my mother’s life. Thank you for your part in making our lives better.”
Daughter | Ft. Worth, TX
“I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the care and love afforded to my mom over the last two weeks. Your success in finding such quality people has my gratitude and respect.”
Daughter | Dallas, TX
“We are very pleased with all of the efforts that your caring staff has made to smooth this traumatic transition.”
Son | Plano, TX
“I know my husband had the very best care in his final days. I regret that I did not know about Avalon sooner.”
Wife | Dallas, TX
“Mom spent the final 8 months of her life in Avalon Memory Care in Allen. The staff was great. There was rarely a day that my brother or I did not come by and they were always friendly to us and did their best to make mom comfortable and happy. We really appreciated them for everything they did.”
Daughter | Allen, TX
“Making the decision to place my mother in residential memory care was the hardest thing I think I have ever done. But living at Avalon has been the best thing for her at this stage of her life.”
Daughter | Allen, TX
“My grandmother has lived at Avalon Memory Care for 6 months now. I cannot speak highly enough about the warmth, dedication, and caring compassion of the staff. They always make us feel welcome and go out of their way to work with us to accommodate grandma’s needs.”
Grandson | Arlington, TX
“My grandmother spent her final days at Avalon and we couldn’t have asked for a better place to care for her. The caregivers are attentive and kind, and many of them have been with Avalon for years. If you are looking for a place to love on you and your family in a season that is inevitably difficult, Avalon is a wonderful choice.”
Granddaughter | Arlington, TX
“We are delighted with the facility of Avalon Memory Care. We just placed Grandma in an apartment with them and couldn’t be happier. It is clean and well-lit, and everyone greets us, down to the folks who clean up.”
Granddaughter | Arlington, TX

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