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As we age, we often become forgetful. Seniors may have trouble remembering where they put their reading glasses, or they may struggle to find the right word when it’s on the tip of their tongue. They might occasionally pay a bill late or come home from the store without the one item they meant to buy. These are all normal signs of aging, and most likely nothing to worry about.

When memory issues become big enough to interfere with a senior’s daily life, that could be a sign of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. But because these conditions develop gradually over time, it’s often hard to recognize them in our loved ones. Both the  National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer's Association are great resources if you need to learn more about dementia and Alzheimer’s and how they differ from typical memory loss.

What to Look For

If you are concerned that a senior loved one’s memory issues might be signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, here are eight things you should look for the next time you visit them. 

  1. Bumps and bruises indicating that they may have fallen recently.
  2. A full pillbox or other sign they’re missing medications (or taking too much).
  3. Piles of unopened mail, especially bills.
  4. No groceries in the house. Reasons for this may include forgetting how to get to the store, or that their credit card was declined because they didn’t pay the bill.
  5. A sink full of dirty dishes, and overflowing laundry baskets.
  6. Wearing the same clothes every day. Wearing dirty clothes. Wearing clothes that are unsuitable for the weather.
  7. Scratches and dents in their cars. Vision problems, including properly judging distance and distinguishing color, all of which impact a person’s driving, can be a sign of Alzheimer’s.  
  8. Asking the same question multiple times. Not being able to follow a conversation.

These are all signs that your loved one is having trouble functioning the way they used to. And even if they recognize that they are having problems, they may not want to admit it to you. If you point out what’s wrong, be aware that they may try to explain away your concerns. For instance, they may say that there is no food in the house because they plan on going to the grocery store today. Or that someone ran into their car in the parking lot and scratched it up. The best thing you can do for them at this point is to schedule an appointment for both of you to see their doctor. 

What to Do Next

If your loved one is diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s, they may be safer and more comfortable if they move to a community specially designed to help them meet the challenges of living with these conditions.

Arbor Terrace Hamilton Mill is an assisted living community in Dacula that has programs in place to help residents in all stages of dementia. Residents whose memory problems aren’t that severe live in the Bridges neighborhood. Staff members are trained to recognize signs of trouble and offer reminders and escorts to help residents find their way to meals and activities. They know that every person is different, and respond to each person’s needs individually.

As their dementia progresses, residents transition to the community’s Evergreen memory care neighborhood. Here they receive constant care while participating in activities that are specially designed to keep their brains active.  

A move to a community like Arbor Terrace Hamilton Mill will keep seniors socially and mentally stimulated, hopefully delaying the progression of their dementia. Plus, knowing they are safe provides peace of mind for their loved ones.

If you’d like to find out more about the Bridges and Evergreen neighborhoods or see if Arbor Terrace Hamilton Mill would be right for your loved one, call 770-800-7826 to arrange a tour. 

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Sharon Elsberry

About the Author: Sharon Elsberry

When you and your loved one enters Arbor Terrace, it's Sharon's smiling face you will see to share with you a tour of the community.

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