The Signs a Senior Is Trying to Hide their Memory Loss

Ruth 04/28/2016

One of the first signs of the onset of Alzheimer’s disease is short term memory loss. Your senior loved one might forget where they parked the car and not be able to find it. Or they may miss a physician’s appointment even if they’ve been reminded about it.

A senior may be confused by the changes they are experiencing and worry about what will happen to them as their illness progresses.

Elders often fear they will lose their independence if family members discover they have dementia.   They often go to great lengths to hide early symptoms.

Knowing what the early signs of memory loss are that indicate a problem is important for adult children and family caregivers.

5 Warning Signs a Senior is Trying to Hide Memory Loss

The signs a senior is trying to hide their memory loss include:

1.Denial of Memory loss or Confusion

Seniors with dementia will deny that their memory is getting bad or that their confusion is anything unusual.  They may make excuses, such as they are “just tired” or that occasional forgetfulness is normal at their age.

2.Withdraw from Socialization

Dementia causes irreversible damage to the brain.  As the disease progresses, this may cause changes in personality.  A senior with dementia may withdraw from activities they once enjoyed so that others won’t notice their memory loss or inability to perform familiar tasks.

3.Refusing to Let Loved Ones in their House

The confusion brought on by dementia may cause a person with Alzheimer’s to struggle with activities of daily living.  They may no longer be able to manage household duties, such as cleaning, meal preparation, paying bills, or balancing the checkbook. Seniors fear if they allow someone inside their home the neglect will become obvious.

Adult children that come to visit are sometimes shocked at the poor living conditions of an older parent’s home.  Senior living communities often see a spike in calls from frantic adult children after holidays when they discover what is really going on with a parent they thought was managing well.

4.Covering Up Mistakes behind the Wheel

It is common for older adults with dementia to remember the mechanics of how to drive but forget where they are going.  Driving skills learned at an early age are part of an individual’s long term memory. By contrast, awareness of current location and how to get back home falls under short-term memory. The latter type of memory is usually impacted first with Alzheimer’s.

5.Spousal Co-Dependence

Spouses of seniors with dementia often feel they must help hide symptoms of senior memory loss because their own independence is closely tied to their spouse’s.  A husband or wife may complete a task or finish a sentence for their loved one in an effort to maintain the impression that everything is normal.

What to Do When Living at Home with Dementia Isn’t Safe

Seniors with dementia may be successful in hiding their symptoms for quite awhile, especially when enabled by a spouse or other family member.  When safety becomes an obvious issue, it is usually time to develop a strategy for the future.

The caring professionals at Elmcroft Senior Living can provide advice and guidance for signs of memory loss in elderly. Our experienced dementia caregivers can help develop an individualized plan of care to help your senior loved one live the highest quality of life despite their disease.