Signs Your Loved One May Have a Form of Memory Impairment

Posted on January 15, 2023

Memory impairment may present itself in many forms. Whether it be dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or another form of mild cognitive impairment, knowing when to be concerned about your loved one’s health is essential. While it is normal for individuals to experience forgetfulness once in a while, this could also indicate that your loved one is beginning to experience the early symptoms of a more severe condition.

As we age, the risk of developing a form of memory impairment significantly increases. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, a vast majority of people with Alzheimer’s dementia [are] age 65 or older. After age 65, memory impairment conditions occur more often, and it becomes increasingly important that your loved one regularly see a doctor to catch the condition early.

The National Institute on Aging states, “dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning – thinking, remembering, and reasoning – to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities.” Moreover, memory impairment conditions are progressive, with symptoms worsening over time. Therefore, the earlier the condition is caught, the more dementia care options you and your family will have.

Knowing what signs and symptoms to look for can help you differentiate between normal, age-related forgetfulness and dementia. Our team at The Pavilion Senior Living is sharing the signs that could signal the onset of a form of memory impairment.

Cognitive Signs and Symptoms

One of the most common signs of dementia or another memory impairment is a change in an individual’s mental state. For example, they may act like a different person or have more difficulty performing certain tasks.

Even though dementia affects each individual differently, there are common psychological symptoms that could signal the onset of memory impairment. Seek medical attention if you notice any of the following warning signs.

Difficulty with Language

We have all forgotten a word we want to use from time to time, but we can usually remember it later. Individuals living with dementia or another form of memory impairment may forget simple words or try to substitute them for words that do not fit into the context of what they are trying to say. The Alzheimer’s Association states, “people living with Alzheimer’s [or another type of dementia] may have trouble following or joining a conversation.”

Having difficulty with language can also seep into how a person writes or follows a plot. Even though writing is at a slower pace than a conversation, giving the individual more time to find the right words, they often have difficulty staying focused long enough to translate their thoughts onto paper.

Additionally, watching a movie or following a conversation requires a longer attention span. This is why a person living with dementia may repeat themselves during a single conversation or not understand what is happening during a movie.

Confusion with Time and Place

If you have ever forgotten what day of the week it was or walked into a room only to realize that you don’t remember why you went in, you are not alone. However, for people living with a form of memory impairment, this happens more frequently and intensely, even in places familiar to them.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “people living with Alzheimer’s [disease or another form of dementia] can lose track of dates, seasons, and the passage of time. They may not understand if something is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there.”

Taking Longer to Complete Daily Tasks

Dementia affects cognitive functioning, making it more difficult to think critically and problem-solve. Another common sign of memory impairment is if a person is having difficulty completing a daily or routine task. For instance, “sometimes they may have trouble driving to a familiar location, organizing a grocery list, or remembering the rules of a favorite game (Alzheimer’s Association).”

While there are many other signs of memory impairment, many are relatively easy to catch. However, if your loved one is acting differently than usual or doing things that are out of character, it is always a good idea to have them speak with a doctor.

Physical Changes and Symptoms

Certain physical changes can also indicate the onset of some memory impairments, most of which are much easier to spot than cognitive symptoms. For example, Alzheimer’s disease is known to have a few physical symptoms that you can be on the lookout for to get an early diagnosis.

Some of the physical traits of memory impairment conditions include:

  • Taking shorter steps or shuffling feet when walking
  • Decreased motor skills
  • Wandering
  • Loss of balance
  • Poor eyesight

The listed symptoms are attributable to a series of conditions, but they can also indicate that your loved one may be experiencing some form of memory impairment. Be diligent when researching the physical symptoms of memory impairment, and speak to a healthcare professional to make sure your loved one is not experiencing a different condition.

Mood and Personality Changes

If you have been noticing that your loved one has been acting differently or simply not like themselves, this could also be an indication of dementia or a form of memory impairment. Although these symptoms are often the most difficult to spot, since there are many possible causes for these changes, they could signal the need to consult your loved one’s doctor.

As we previously mentioned, when an individual experiences Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, they may find it more difficult to focus and follow a conversation. Because of this, they may withdraw from their normal activities, which can be perceived as changes in their personality or a loss of initiative.

If you notice your loved one showing less interest in their hobbies or the activities they once enjoyed doing, this could be a sign of dementia. Changes in mood, shifts in personality, and loss of interest in the things they once enjoyed all can stem from the onset of memory impairment.

According to Healthline, “one typical type of personality change seen with dementia is a shift from being shy to outgoing. This is because the condition often affects judgment.”

Other changes in mood and personality that could be a sign of memory impairment include:

  • Being suspicious or paranoid
  • Increased feelings of anxiety or depression
  • More feelings of Aggression

Although these emotional conditions are common, a recurring anxious or paranoid personality is not typical. It can be an indicator for an aging adult that there is an issue beyond mental health. Talk to your loved one’s doctor about the likelihood that these behavioral changes could be related to cognitive function or memory impairment.

Dementia Care at The Pavilion Senior Living

Receiving an early diagnosis is important as it allows you to learn about your loved one’s condition and create a care plan that can help delay the progression of their memory impairment. Part of that care plan could be through memory and dementia care services.

The Pavilion Senior Living proudly offers compassionate Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Our team members are specially trained on managing the challenges associated with memory loss, and we focus on providing person-centered care to each resident and family we serve.

Our memory care neighborhoods in Lebanon and Carthage, Tennessee, provide a safe and secure environment designed to meet each resident’s needs. Our activities and programs encourage engagement, connection, and social wellness.

Memory care services at The Pavilion Senior Living include:

  • Specialized programming
  • Secure living environment
  • Assistance with the activities of daily living
  • Caring and supportive team members
  • Medication management

We understand the challenges associated with memory impairment and know that you likely worry about your loved one’s safety and what the future holds. Our mission at The Pavilion Senior Living is to create a safe, comfortable environment that allows residents to maintain as much of their independence as possible while offering peace of mind to families.


With the broad scope of memory impairment conditions that have been identified, it is important to be vigilant. Frequently converse with your loved one about their health and show them your support if they are having difficulty coming to terms with their condition. In addition, we strongly recommend memory care services for individuals experiencing difficulties in their daily routine due to memory impairment.

If you would like to learn more about our dementia care services, we invite you to visit our website or contact a member of The Pavilion Senior Living team.

Updated: January 2023

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