Memory loss can be a normal sign of aging; we all forget some things as we get older. If memory loss is limited to forgetting words occasionally, losing car keys or forgetting small appointments, this may not be cause for concern. If you notice your mom or dad getting increasingly forgetful of critical or everyday things, this may be cause for concern1.
It's not always a sign of Alzheimer's Disease
Memory loss can be caused by aging, and exacerbated by other factors that couple with aging. Other factors that can increase memory loss include depression and other health problems, ranging in seriousness from excessive use of alcohol to brain tumors. There are also other types of dementia (with symptoms including memory loss) similar to Alzheimer's Disease, that are in fact treatable and reversible.
Real reasons for concern
If you tell your parents something one day and they forget it the very next this may be more serious. Other more concerning manifestations of memory loss are getting lost in familiar neighbourhoods and forgetting very common words. There are several typical "turning point situations" where families definitely need to become serious about the possibility that their elderly loved one may be exhibiting signs of Alzheimer's or related dementias.
A fuller list of worrying manifestations related to memory loss is as follows:
- Disorientation while driving or walking in familiar places. Getting lost close to home, in a familiar neighbourhood, is one of the surest signs of the onset of something serious.
- Turning the stove on and forgetting about it. If this happens with any regularity, or if a dangerous situation has arisen, this can be cause to take mom or dad to a doctor.
- Forgetting simple words that are used every day, or notably odd problems with words, such as inventing new words for common things (e.g. calling a clock "the wall time")
- Sundown Syndrome, especially if mom or dad has uncontrolled angry outbursts.
- Incontinence. There are several classes of this condition: urge incontinence (not related to stress or a lack of mobility) can absolutely be a sign that something serious is going wrong with your mom or dad. Any incontinence should receive medical attention.
- Losing weight can be a sign that they are, in fact, forgetting to eat.
- Behaviour repetitions that indicate a loss of short term memory. This can include calling repeatedly or asking the same question repeatedly when the answer ought to have been remembered.
- Difficulty performing simple tasks they ought to be familiar with.
- Impaired judgement based on not recognizing typical needs. An example of this is forgetting to put on a coat when it is clearly too cold out.
- Forgetting scheduled items regularly
- Putting things in strange places (e.g. sugar bowl in the freezer)
- Forgetting oft-used or very familiar names, such as pets, grandchildren or children.
- Withdrawal due to the need to hide confusion.
These are all serious signs that you need to get medical help for your aging parent.
Be aware that your aging loved one may be embarrassed about this loss of memory and may not report it honestly due to embarrassment. This embarrassment or evasion can delay proper diagnosis. In turn, this can delay proper interventions, including therapies and drugs that can inhibit the disease's development. As is well known, drug interventions in Alzheimer's care are more effective earlier on.
If checking into these symptoms leads to a diagnosis, or if you see an increased manifestation of these symptoms in a parent already diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease, this may be time to start investigating Alzheimer's care facilities or home health services near you.
If you have concerns, it is best to discuss things with parents when you yourself are at your absolute calmest. Avoid confrontational language or accusatory tones. Get the opinion of a medical expert. There are other explanations for memory loss including simply aging.
List of memory care communities
77 Dunfield Avenue, Toronto,
Ontario, M4S 2H3
The Dunfield Retirement Residence has established a new standard in senior retirement living in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) with 177 spacious apartments. Where people come to LIVE!
250 Laurelwood Drive, Waterloo,
Ontario, N2J 0E2
32 Bayberry Drive, Guelph,
Ontario, N1G 0A2
Guelph retirement home offers Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care. Includes 24 hour onsite nursing team and medication support within a Village-like setting. It takes a Village to care.
695 Block Line Road, Kitchener,
Ontario, N2E 3K1
This elegant retirement residence in Kitchener-Waterloo offers a continuum of care from long-term care to assisted living to independent living seniors apartments.
60 Woodlawn Road East, Guelph,
Ontario, N1H 8M8
This elegant Guelph retirement home offers a range of care including assisted living and long term care, serviced by a friendly, caring staff.
4100 Upper Middle Road, Burlington,
Ontario, L7W 4W8
At The Village of Tansley Woods we offer the full continuum of care - Independent Living Suites, Retirement Apartments, Full Service Retirement Suites, Assisted Care, Memory Care and Long Term Care all in one village.
3800 Brock Sreet North, Whitby,
Ontario, L1R 3A5
The Village of Taunton Mills in Whitby presents several levels of service from seniors' apartments with meals to assisted living to long-term care.
2930 Erin Centre Boulevard, Mississauga,
Ontario, L5M 7M4
Mississauga's unique continuum of care concept featuring Independent Living Suites, Retirement Apartments, Full Service Suites with walk out patios, Assisted Care, Memory Care and Long Term Care.
2245 Lawrence Avenue West, Etobicoke,
Ontario, M9P 3W3
The Village of Humber Heights in Etobicoke offers different levels of service from independent apartments with meals to assisted living to long-term care.
1620 Upper Wentworth St., Hamilton,
Ontario, L9B 2W3
The Village of Wentworth Heights is a full-service retirement living community offering retirement apartments, full-service suites, assisted living and memory care.
400 Ray Lawson Blvd., Brampton,
Ontario, L6Y 4G4
Southbrook is all about choice - the choice to do what you want, when you want. We celebrate independence but we are here to provide assistance whenever you need it. Southbrook....be a part of the family.
285030 Luther Rose Blvd NE, Calgary,
Alberta, T1X 1M9
Prince of Peace a variety of suites styles with kitchenettes and incredible mountain views. It's the perfect residence for seniors who are active, require some assistance, or have memory care needs.
6 Arthur Street, Carleton Place,
Ontario, K7C 4S4
Carleton Place Terrace welcomes pets: offers residents plenty of options with studios and one-bedrooms that may include a kitchenette & / or a walk-out . Activities & chef-prepared meals keep residents healthy & active.
2 Bloor Street East, Suite 2101, Toronto,
Ontario, M4W 1A8
Spectrum Health Care offers a range of quality health care services designed to suit the individual needs of each client. Our services include nursing, personal/home support, foot care, physiotherapy, and companionship.
2101 Hadwen Road, Mississauga,
Ontario, L4W 1L8
Bayshore Home Health understands that aging at home can be the best option for many seniors. We provide personalized home care services to meet your needs and support you and your family throughout the care process.
27 Weaver Crescent, Kanata,
Ontario, K2K 2Z8
Enjoy the natural setting of the surrounding Kanata Lakes with access to shopping, parks and churches at Symphony Senior Living Kanata. This pet friendly community offers a variety of service packages and suites to fulfill your unique needs.
552 Holland St W, Bradford,
Ontario, L3Z 2H4
Located in the heart of a vibrant community, Holland Gardens is the perfect place to live, laugh and enjoy life. An exciting community offering a luxurious resort lifestyle, an ideal place for inspired senior living.
175 Rutledge Rd., Mississauga,
Ontario, L5M 0X7
Credit River is a 6-storey condo style residence, with an array of well-appointed suite styles to choose from and our highly-skilled health care professionals are available around the clock if you need them.
110 & 150 Rossignol Drive, Orleans,
Ontario, K4A 0N2
With so much to do nearby, it’s easy to forget why you might want to stay home, but with its exceptional dining, impeccable design, and fun activities, you’ll find Promenade has many attractions of its own!
4950 Pasqua Street, Regina,
Saskatchewan, S4S 7L2
At Wintergreene you'll discover a combination of independence, privacy, activities, health and wellness programs & friendly companionship to savour throughout your retirement.
458 Donald B. Munro Drive, Carp,
Ontario, K0A 1L0
One visit to Carp Commons Retirement Village and you’ll see the difference in terms of amenities, food, services, programs, and the little touches that make it feel like home.
1140 Bloor Street West, Toronto,
Ontario, M6H 4E6
From gracious dining to new suites and lounges, residents are enjoying the new management and upgrades found at 1140 Bloor Street West, in the Heart of Bloordale Village.
808 Spring Creek Drive, Canmore,
Origin at Spring Creek is Bow Valley’s leading independent, assisted living, & memory care community. Nestled in the luxurious mountain town of Canmore, we empower our residents to remain happy, healthy & active.
2881 Eglinton Avenue East, Scarborough,
Ontario, M1J 0A2
McCowan Retirement Residence is a vibrant and family oriented retirement home located in Scarborough. With team members who have been here since we opened in 2004, you can expect a warm welcome and a feeling of home.
1510 St. Joseph Boulevard, Orleans,
Ontario, K1C 7L1
Forest Valley Terrace is proud to be the only community that is designed & dedicated to accommodate the needs of seniors with all stages of Alzheimer’s, dementia or other forms of memory impairment in Ottawa.
2235 Heseltine Rd, Regina,
Saskatchewan, S4V 2Y7
Riverbend Crossing is a memory care community located in Regina, Saskatchewan, specializing in caring for those living with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other forms of cognitive or memory impairment.
30 Seacliff Drive East, Leamington,
Ontario, N8H 0E5
At Seacliff Manor, we provide a vibrant, supportive retirement lifestyle complete with restaurant style dining and social events and activities. Choose from independent living, assisted living, and memory care options.
110 & 120 Central Park Dr, Ottawa,
Ontario, K2C 4G3
Whether you're looking for independent living, assisted living or memory care, you can access them all in one location at Park Place. We are a vibrant, social community surrounded by parks and close to many amenities.
867 KLO Road, Kelowna,
British Columbia, V1Y 9G5
Living at Hawthorn Park Retirement Residence means you have choices & can customize the services you need, as you need them. We offer three lifestyle opportunities; supportive living, assisted living & complex care.
880 Lawrence Ave E, North York,
At Greenview Residence, we offer a complete range of care services in a welcoming environment. Whether it's our compassionate staff, fresh homemade meals, or exciting and engaging activities, you will truly feel at home.
80 Elgin Mills Road East, Richmond Hill,
Ontario, L4C 0L3
Award Winning Delmanor Elgin Mills, has proudly served the Richmond Hill community since 2002.
480 Metcalfe Street, Ottawa,
Ontario, K1S 3N6
Villagia is centrally located on the edge of the Glebe, the downtown core and just steps away from the world renowned Rideau Canal.
265 Queens Drive, Toronto,
Ontario, M6L 3C6
At Queens Estate, we offer a complete range of care services in a welcoming environment. Whether it's our compassionate staff, fresh homemade meals, or exciting and engaging activities, you will truly feel at home.
7 Brower Drive, Sherwood Park,
Aster Gardens, coming Fall 2020, is Sherwood Parks’ newest residence that will transform the way seniors live. Every part of the building has been designed from the perspective of the resident. Let Us Welcome You Home.
3920 198th Street, Langley,
British Columbia, V3A 1C8
We believe that the desire to achieve well-being, purpose and fulfillment does not diminish with a dementia diagnosis. We focus on the possibilities of each Villager with support to live life with laughter, love and joy.
4005 Eglinton Ave West, Etobicoke,
Ontario, M9A 5H3
12275-224th Street, Maple Ridge,
British Columbia, V2X 6H5
301 7th Street SW, Calgary,
Alberta, T2P 1Y6
57 Trott Blvd., Collingwood,
Ontario, L9Y 0A3
170 McGibbon Drive, Kanata,
Ontario, K2L 4H5
460 Rymal Road West, Hamilton,
Ontario, L9B 0B2