When Is It Time For Memory Care?

How do doctors decide when it’s time for memory care?

Doctors will be required to observe their senior patients for signs of memory loss, including conditions such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s. Mysterious weight loss, a lack of personal grooming or a sense that the patient is struggling to take a continuous role in a conversation, are all signs that a patient’s memory might be becoming less efficient.

Trouble with activities of daily living

If a senior patient has had any recent difficulties with any of their daily activities, it could be a sign that they need memory care. Some doctors report that discovering this information can be tricky, as patients can be reluctant to raise the topics of memory issues. It is reportedly common that a patient’s children will approach the doctor to discuss their concerns.

Problems with daily living can include any activities that will be done on a daily basis, such as showering or bathing, using the bathroom and, if applicable, applying makeup.

Senior patient with dialy activity difficutlies helpled by complex care specialist e1633437262624

Trouble with activities of daily living

If a senior patient has had any recent difficulties with any of their daily activities, it could be a sign that they need memory care. Some doctors report that discovering this information can be tricky, as patients can be reluctant to raise the topics of memory issues. It is reportedly common that a patient’s children will approach the doctor to discuss their concerns.

Problems with daily living can include any activities that will be done on a daily basis, such as showering or bathing, using the bathroom and, if applicable, applying makeup.

trouble with memory of daily living

Doctors may ask a few questions about the patient’s lifestyle and memory, to check how the individual’s mind is functioning. The questions can include:

  • Does the patient usually remember to eat or drink – it’s possible that the patient’s children could provide clarification on this topic, if necessary.
  • If applicable, is the individual taking their medication at the required intervals?
  • How frequent are activities involving personal hygiene – showering, bathing, personal grooming? Are these activities difficult in any way?
  • Does the individual regularly find themselves in unfamiliar territory, such as a different street from the one they had intended to be on, after they have gone out to the shops, or to see a friend?

If there are any concerning answers from these questions, the doctor may choose to perform a mental status exam, to discover further information on how the patient is coping with daily activities and whether the situation needs to be investigated further.

Memory loss can be a concern. For example, if a patient has been known to leave kitchen appliances running after they have finished using them, such as a hob or an oven, this can be a sign of memory issues. Scenarios such as this are a concern for the patient’s overall safety and wellbeing. A doctor may also examine the patient physically to observe any bruises, cuts or bumps on the skin, and to discover if there is any recollection of how they occurred.

If the doctor thinks that a senior patient may need memory care, they can provide a quick exam to test the person’s mental functioning. The exam will test the individual’s short-term memory, so as long as the individual is able to read, it will give the doctor an insight into how their memory is functioning. The test can include remembering various words that the person has been told during the session, basic numerical tasks, and even tasks such as asking the patient to observe the whereabouts, and distance, between a couple of nearby objects.

The result of these tests is to analyse the functioning of the patient’s mind and memory. If there is sufficient concern that individual’s memory is performing less efficiently than normal, it is possible for a referral to be made to a Neurologist, who will be able to provide a diagnosis of Dementia, Alzheimer’s or any other applicable conditions.

In summary, a GP will need to know any information about memory loss that may be affecting a senior patient. Senior patients may be reluctant or anxious about raising these topics, and so it is often a case that their children will speak to the doctor about it.

trouble with acitivity of daily living

If sufficient concerns and symptoms are suspected, and particularly if the doctor considers the patient is at risk of harming themselves, via falls or forgetting to switch off kitchen appliances, the GP may wish to perform a quick examination to test the patient’s mental status. If concerns are still present following the exam, the individual may be referred to a Neurologist for a diagnosis.