Aging is hard on the body and on the mind. As your parents get older, you may notice signs that they aren’t quite as mentally sharp as they used to be. Many older adults experience mild cognitive impairment as part of the process of aging.
In some cases, if the symptoms progress or become more obvious, they could be a warning sign of someone’s impending inability to care for themselves. As someone trying to help their aging parents, you should pay attention to any warning signs that your loved one may no longer be able to handle their own legal, financial and medical affairs.
Your loved one has started to forget things
We all have those moments where we don’t remember that we put our sunglasses on top of our heads. However, if your parent is experiencing these lapses of memory frequently, that could be a warning sign of cognitive decline or impairment.
Especially if their forgetfulness extends not just to minor things in the moment but to major things, like your family members’ birthdays, holidays or bills, you may have to start asking yourself whether they could be at risk of financial hardship due to their inability to remember to pay things on time.
Your loved one seems to have trouble making decisions or is impulsive
People’s personalities do change as they get older, but certain changes could be a warning sign of issues with mental functioning. If your loved one suddenly can’t seem to make decisions or makes decisions that seemed utterly irrational, that could be a warning sign of cognitive decline. Additionally, if they seemed to do things impulsively, without planning or considering the consequences, that can also be a sign of mild cognitive impairment.
Your loved one has mood changes
It is common for anxiety and depression to go hand-in-hand with cognitive decline. People often recognize that they can no longer function the way they once did, and that can make some very nervous about losing their independence or very depressed about their life situation. Changes in your loved one’s mood and behavior can be a warning sign of other problems.
Having a medical professional evaluate your loved one is often the next step after you suspect issues in securing a guardianship that can protect your loved one.