When is it time to intervene?

Early diagnosis of dementia is crucial to preventing a crisis and for planning treatment and care. It is difficult to tell if cognition changes are simply age related changes (normal aging) or dementia (not normal aging).

Therefore, knowing when to seek in-home care or place a loved one in a senior living home is very difficult to judge. This is especially true for individuals without a serious medical condition outside of their cognitive changes.

What is the difference between simple forgetfulness and a serious memory loss?

Here are some warning signs of memory loss that may signal the need for assistance care. They were gathered from a variety of sources:

Does he/she repeat questions more frequently?YesNo
Does he/she exhibit poor grooming and personal hygieneYesNo
Does he/she forget to take medications or take them incorrectly?YesNo
Has there been a change in eating habits or loss of appetite?YesNo
Is outdated food in the refrigerator or little nutritious food?YesNo
 Has driving been impaired? Frequent accidents?YesNo
Is he/she increasingly forgetful?YesNo
 Is he/she moody or depressed?YesNo
Has there been a loss of interest in socializing?YesNo
 Is he/she less interested in former activities?YesNo
 Is he/she unsteady on her feet or does she fall frequently?YesNo
Does he/she have difficulty concentrating?YesNo
Does he/she exhibit poor judgment?YesNo
 Is he/she incontinent?YesNo
Is there trouble handling finances? Are there unpaid bills?YesNo
Does he/she spend long periods of time doing nothing?YesNo
Have others noticed personality changes?YesNo
 Is there unopened mail lying around?YesNo
Is there poor housekeeping or unsafe conditions?YesNo
Does he/she have trouble making decisions?YesNo
 Does he/she get lost?YesNo
 Does he/she have trouble finding the right words?YesNo
Does he/she wear the same clothes over and over again?YesNo

This is also available here has a printable worksheet to fill out and bring to your next appointment with your physician.

See your physician for further evaluation if you have answered “yes” to a majority of these questions. Then call us to learn more about our home and how we can serve your loved one on his or her dementia journey.

Parks’ Place Memory Care is a privately owned assisted living home, specialized and specifically designed for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.  Our home is for people of any stage of dementia so they are able to age-in-place in their home.  For tours, general information, or admission inquiry, please contact Kaitlin Kelly at 612-358-3725.

Forgetfulness and Dementia

At times, we all forget details like where we placed our keys or we forget to buy an item on our grocery list. This is normal. Regardless of age, when we are feel stressed or fatigued it is not uncommon to forget details. As a result, many of us develop techniques to aid our memory including checklists, calendars, and “to do lists”.

As people age, the amount of time it takes to learn and retain new information may increase in duration. However, with time and patience normal functioning older adults will be able to retain and recall this new information.

Many older adults are fearful of memory loss. Research shows that there are steps one can take to promote a healthy brain. The Alzheimer’s Association offers the following tips.

Healthy Brain Tips:

Eat healthily: Lean towards foods rich in anti-oxidants and folic acid as well as water and fruit juice. Avoid fatty foods, caffeine, and alcoholic beverages.

  • Stay active: Find activities that exercise your body and your brain.
  • Support system: Maintain a good support system that allows for social interaction.
  • Rest, relax, and sleep: Stress and lack of sleep can have negative effects on your body. Maintain balance within your life.
  • Visit your doctor: Annual physicals allow you to talk with your doctor, ask questions, and monitor your health and medications.

When memory loss becomes more significant

For some, memory loss can be more significant. When memory loss begins to interfere with day-to-day functioning the problem may be a warning sign of something more. For example:

  • Difficulty managing medications
  • Significant weight loss due to missed meals
  • Frequent hospitalizations due to noncompliance with medication regime
  • Inability to organize finances, overdrawn accounts, and vulnerability to scams
  • Disorganized household, decreased cleanliness
  • Failure to meet deadlines at work


Family, friends, and acquaintances should take note when a significant change in skill, routine, or behavior occurs. For example:

  • An accountant who can no longer add 2+2
  • A computer programmer who cannot remember how to turn on the computer


It is important to note that any one of the issues mentioned above alone does not signify memory loss. Instead, it offers a “red flag” which warrants additional attention and investigation.

What to do if memory loss is suspected?

Whenever memory loss is suspected the first step is to see a physician. Your primary physician can refer you to a specialist who can work to identify the cause of the memory loss. Generally, your physician may refer you to a neurologist, internist, and/or a psychiatrist.

Why is a physician visit needed?

Memory loss can have numerous causes. Some medical conditions when left untreated can result in increased confusion and memory loss. As a result, an individual could be diagnosed inaccurately with a form of dementia when, in fact, they may have a medical condition such as a thyroid problem, lack of Vitamin B12, a medication/drug reaction, infection, or depression. A physician will complete a battery of tests to identify any treatable conditions and recommend treatment if appropriate.

If the memory loss and confusion are due to a medical condition, when treated the individual may notice a decrease or elimination of symptoms.

Parks’ Place Memory Care is a privately owned assisted living home, specialized and specifically designed for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.  Our home is for people of any stage of dementia so they are able to age-in-place in their home.  For tours, general information, or admission inquiry, please contact Kaitlin Kelly at 612-358-3725.