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Tough Conversations: How to Spot Signs of Memory Loss in Your Loved One

Dealing with your senior loved one’s memory decline can be a frightening and challenging experience. However, the sooner you can recognize and accept that your loved one may need memory-based care or assistance, the easier it can be for both of you. As opposed to more common symptoms like forgetting names and places or getting lost, some other signs of memory disorders may not be immediately apparent. Ebenezer Senior Living has compiled a list of several additional signs and symptoms of dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other memory-related illnesses.

Mixing Up Words & Items

While forgetting words when speaking or misplacing important items can be common symptoms of memory loss, it’s also important to notice when your loved one says one word when they mean another – for example, saying “chair” when they mean “bed” or “basket” instead of “table.” You should also keep an eye out for common items in unusual places, such as keys or wallets in the refrigerator or perishable items in a drawer.

Erratic Mood Changes

It may not seem like an obvious sign of a memory-related illness, but sudden mood swings can indicate the progress of diseases like dementia. If your loved one tends to switch from calm to irritable with no clear reason or exhibits uncharacteristic behavior, it could be a sign of memory deterioration. These mood swings aren’t necessarily always negative. Sudden bursts of exuberance can also be indicative of a memory disorder.

Emotion Mirroring

People struggling with memory loss tend to become easily confused or disoriented in social situations. This can lead to emotional contagion, where your loved one will mimic your emotions in an attempt to connect with you and fit in with their surroundings. This can go both ways. Whether you’re angry or calm, your loved one will pick up on this and attempt to emulate it.

Picking up on the signs and symptoms of a memory loss disorder is important. The sooner your loved one receives a diagnosis, the sooner you can begin formulating care plans, educating yourself and other loved ones about the illness, and identifying treatment options. For more information on memory loss and difficult conversations, visit the Ebenezer blog.

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Ebenezer is Minnesota’s largest senior living operator with over 100 years of experience serving older adults. As part of Fairview Health Services, Ebenezer is dedicated to healing, discovering and educating for longer, healthier and meaningful lives. ​

Discrimination is Against the Law. We comply with applicable Federal civil rights laws. We do not discriminate against, exclude or treat people differently because of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex or sexual orientation.

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