The Six Game Changers #3
What is the third "Game Changer" that can prevent seniors from staying in their home?
What is “normal” age-related forgetfulness? Memory lapses that are considered normal among seniors and are usually not warning signs of dementia may include:
- Difficulty remembering names of acquaintances or calling somebody by the wrong name.
- Occasionally forgetting where you have left an object that is used frequently (keys, remote, glasses.)
- Difficulty remembering details of a previous conversation or details of what you’ve just read.
- Occasionally forgetting the date/time of an appointment that you scheduled.
- Walking into a room just to realize that you forgot why you came there in the first place.
- Distracted very easily and not being able to finish a sentence even though the information is “on the tip of your tongue.”
These memory lapses have little impact on your daily functions and do not keep you from doing the things that you want to do. However, when memory loss does begin to affect your ability to function, and disrupts your work, relationships, and safety it could be a warning sign that you are facing a more serious disease.
Remember that if you are worried that you or a loved one may have the warning signs for dementia, the sooner you address the problem, the better. Visit your physician as soon as you can get in. At your appointment with the physician your symptoms will be evaluated, personal risk factors will be assessed, reversible causes of memory loss will be removed, and the appropriate plan for care will be established.
Tips for coping with memory loss include:
- Tracking your symptoms by listing all concerns that you have personally and that your family has observed. Be sure to track detailed information such as the frequency, setting of your memory, and behavior concerns.
- Learn as much about memory loss as you can. Being able to recognize the symptoms of dementia and knowing what to look out for can go a long way in helping you plan for the future and make necessary adjustments that will allow you to live a full life as independent as possible.
- Allow others to help you for your own safety. If safety becomes a concern, family, friends, and even professional caregivers can assist with daily activities to make sure that you remain safe at all times. While difficulty remembering names and details can be frustrating and make socialization difficult, it is important not to become socially isolated. The brain needs stimulation. Caregivers can be excellent companions as well!
Before you experience a game changer, such as memory loss, consider legally establishing a Power of Attorney for your affairs. A Power of Attorney (P.O.A.) is a legal document that you personally setup to give someone that you trust the authority to handle your personal affairs when you are incapable of doing so.
- Financial P.O.A. is somebody that you trust to access your money and financial records to settle financial needs when you cannot.
- Medical P.O.A. is somebody that you trust to make official medical decisions for you when you cannot. It is important that you discuss your wishes with your Medical P.O.A. in order to avoid any doubts in what care you would want in emergency situations.
Remember that your Medical and Financial P.O.A. will be making decisions for you when you are unable to. It is wise to have specific people appointed by yourself to speak for you. When you have decided to take this step in your care, contact your lawyer or and Elder Care Attorney to get the process started.