10 Signs Cognitive Troubles May Be MORE Than Old Age

Senior man in knit cap

SOMEONE YOU LOVE, perhaps your dad, has long been showing signs of forgetfulness which you are worried about but attribute to age.

“Don’t worry about losing your car keys,” you tell him, “you’re just getting older and this is normal.”

But when it is not normal? When should you start worrying?

Here are 10 signs that may indicate it is more than old age:

  1. Bad financial judgement. Your father sends a $1,500 donation to the “Nothing But Nets” foundation. This is wonderful but he only had $2200 in his bank account. 
  2. Public outbursts. An elderly woman unconsciously jumps ahead of your dad in the grocery store checkout line. He throws a gigantic fit, knocks over her grocery cart, is kicked out and told never to come back.
  3. Movement issues. When you first notice your dad is slightly hunched over and shuffling along, you think he is playing on a trick on you, but then you realize this is no joke.
  4. Loss of inhibition.  The lady who lives next door to him complains to you he has been asking her if she “needs to be lubricated.”
  5. Incoherent. Mid-sentence you dad’s voice trails off and he gives you a blank stare.
  6. Hallucinations. He tells you Kobe Bryant came over to his house for a beer.
  7. Delusions. The Peace & Freedom Party wants you father to run for governor of California, or so he claims.
  8. Trouble with familiar tasks. He complains his TV remote not longer works. You check into it and find it works exactly as it always has.
  9. Memory loss that interrupts daily life. You notice half-made sandwiches on the counter and he regularly forgets conversations you just had with him.
  10. Neglect of personal safety. You nearly have a heart attack watching your dad climb up a rickety old ladder to trim some tree branches with a power saw.

When you start to notice things like the above, your loved one is showing signs of early stage dementia or worse. You next need to talk him (or her) into going to the doctor to ask about a cognitive test. This is the really hard part.

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