Many Colorado residents have concerns about the health issues and ailments that could affect them as they get older. Of course, these concerns could begin to affect an older loved one before you, and certain responsibilities may fall to you sooner than expected. Even if your family member can still perform most of his or her daily activities alone, if you notice signs of cognitive decline, taking steps to address those concerns is prudent.
Too often, many individuals begin to experience symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. The signs can often begin subtly, and some could even be easy to overlook or dismiss as everyday forgetfulness. Still, if any of your loved one’s behavior begins to worry you, encouraging him or her to visit a doctor may be helpful to you both.
What signs could cause you concern?
Unfortunately, numerous signs and symptoms are associated with dementia or other cognitive decline, so it is difficult to know which may be serious. However, if you notice any of the following signs, your concerns are likely valid:
- Your loved one seems to struggle to find the right words to express thoughts or feelings.
- Your loved one may repeat a conversation he or she already had with you due to forgetfulness.
- Your loved one may perform an activity and shortly after believe that he or she needs to perform that activity due to forgetting that it has already been done.
- Your loved one may experience abrupt mood swings or behavior that is not typical of his or her usual personality, such as becoming easily frustrated and irritated where he or she was once patient.
- Your loved one may no longer express interest in once-loved hobbies or activities.
- Your loved one may seem confused or show signs of short-term memory issues, such as forgetting what he or she ate for breakfast.
Sadly, the list of symptoms could go on. Fortunately, if you catch these symptoms and encourage your loved one to seek medical attention, doctors could get to the bottom of the issue early and begin intervention if necessary. Hopefully, if your loved one does receive a concerning diagnosis, he or she will still have enough mental capacity to make decisions regarding end-of-life care, power of attorney appointments and other estate planning matters so that any transitions in the near future go smoothly.