Ten tips to detect memory problems in older people

Ten tips to detect memory problems in older people

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Ten tips to detect memory problems in older people

Here are ten tips to detect memory problems in older people.  These are intended only as a general guide to help you decide if your older relative may be suffering from memory problems:

  1. Doing crazy things or things not in their nature

If your relative starts giving away money or spends too much on clothes, or wears the same clothes over and over again that may give cause for concern. It does not automatically mean that they have dementia.


  1. Lack of interest in things they used to enjoy, withdrawal from social activities

If the person used to enjoy playing golf or reading the paper or visiting friends and they have given up on all of that it is worth trying to ascertain why they have ceased these activities.  Are they concerned about some other issue that is preventing them from going out as much as before?  If they have a bad back that may explain why they are no longer able to play golf but there may be something else behind their lack of enthusiasm.


  1. Making the same points over and over again or repeating themselves, telling the same story repeatedly

It can be quite alarming if someone is mixing up words and phrases, maybe they are tired or their blood pressure is high or maybe there is some detioriation in memory.  A GP can check for cognition levels.


  1. Difficulty in concentration or in completing daily tasks

Failing to turn off the cooker is a classic one because of the dangers that creates.  If they can no longer work the microwave that is also a red flag.  The person may wish to cover up their confusion and put the blame on the microwave but it may be an indication that all is not well. If your mother is no longer able to follow a recipe that she has used for years this may be a sign of a greater problem.


  1. Finding it hard to follow what is being said in conversation

Some older people are hard of hearing and they cannot follow what is being said for that reason.  They may need to get their hearing checked.  It may be that people are speaking too quickly and not including the older person in the conversation.  On the other hand, perhaps the older person has reduced capacity to understand what is being said.


  1. Problems managing money

A lot of older people find managing money difficult and they are not familiar with online banking.  Still bills need to be paid on time.  If they are unable to balance their household accounts or have trouble using an ATM card it may be time to intervene.


  1. Missing appointments

If your parent is forgetting medical appointments or not notifying you in time of these appointments if they need a lift, then it is worth looking into this some more.  It is important to attend all medical appointments and keep up to date with prescriptions otherwise it is hard to make an accurate assessment of what is going on.


  1. Confusion  or trouble expressing themselves

It is normal for older people to take a bit longer to figure out what they want to say . If your relative jumbles up their words or does not appear to be making sense it is important to get a check up with their GP.  It could be something else like a urinary tract infection but it is worth looking into.


  1. Mood changes or behavioural problems like getting agitated or appearing very anxious, sometimes a person may become aggressive.

If a person was previously very calm and relaxed and they start getting annoyed over trivial things then that is a noticeable change.   Sometimes people’s behaviour can become aggressive and those issues  will need to be examined by a doctor.


  1. Losing things

It is possible that if a person cannot remember  from moment to moment where they have put things that may be a sign of forgetfulness and  this

should be examined in the context of their overall behaviour.

We hope that you have found these ten tips to detect memory problems in older people useful.

If you would like to book a consultation to discuss your concerns please go to www.emerlavineldercare.ie




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