Ten Signs It’s time for your Aging
loved-one to be evaluated for additional care needs.
#1 The Shirley Syndrome
Have you noticed when with mom she tells the same story over and over again? Have you noticed that the stories are from a LONG time ago? That you think, wow, she has a great memory? You fool yourself into thinking this woman is amazing, yet she can’t tell you what she had for breakfast. When I started to take notice mama would say, “Oh, don’t look at me like that, I have four daughters, I don’t know who I told.”
Then out of the blue, our good family friend called her to complain about his mom, Shirley. He told her how he was getting tired of hearing the same thing over and over again, and it was beginning to be hard to visit her at her assisted living facility, and that the doctors said Shirley had dementia.
Well, mama proceeded to share with me how sad it was that Shirley was getting dementia and that she didn’t want me be tired of ‘listening or visiting’ so we agreed on a plan. Whenever mama would start telling me a story I had heard before, I was to say ‘Shirley’, raise my hand and show fingers as to how many times I had heard the story. She would then say she was sorry and begin another story.
Well eventually I was holding up both hands, lol, and she would say I give up. I was the one she saw everyday so I got to hear more than anyone else. I was fine with it and then as time went by I gladly listened to the stories over and over, never saying Shirley or holding up my fingers, knowing one day I would wish I could hear it again.
The point is, this is a sign that things are being forgotten. If they forget what they said five minutes before, and say the same thing, or something similar, that could be the onset of dementia. The short term memory is short circuiting. If they forget this type of thing, what else are they forgetting to do? Eat? Take medicine? Pay a bill?
It is so subtle and creeps up so innocently and most of the seniors I know have great excuses, but it is a sign so watch for it. Check medications when they are picked up and audit them a week later to make sure they are being taken. Check the fridge for food going bad, look for weight loss simple things like this could mean you should start with your care plan and have mom or dad evaluated.
Please know too, that mild cognitive impairment does not mean your parent has Alzheimer’s disease, there are many reasons why people forget things, so please don’t let anyone ‘label’ your loved one. It may be as simple as old age forgetfulness, which is normal and can be managed.
Stay tuned as we post 9 more topics on this subject over the next 9 days. Please forward to your friends as you never know who may need this information.