How to Talk to a Parent About Memory Loss & Address Concerns

If you notice cognitive changes in a parent, it can be challenging to know how to address this topic with them. Because early detection and diagnosis are essential to slowing the progression of memory impairment and cognitive decline, having this conversation sooner rather than later is important. 

Our team at Uplands Village wants to help you support your mom or dad, so we are sharing steps on how to talk to a parent about memory loss. 

Assess the Circumstances

Step #1: Take Note of Specific Changes You are Noticing

Before you approach your parent with memory loss concerns, you want to take note of the specific changes you are noticing in their behavior. 

  • What are they doing or not doing that is causing concern? 
  • Can you think of any specific examples of when you noticed memory loss or changes in their thinking or cognitive abilities?
  • How could these changes impact their safety?

Instead of raising general concerns, you can have specific examples of things you noticed, which can help Mom or Dad reflect on their lifestyle and health.

Step #2: Consider External Factors

Certain health conditions, medication side effects, and even stressful life events can cause unusual changes to cognitive health. For example, respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, and dehydration can all cause dementia-like symptoms. Make sure to check their medications for possible side effects and drug interactions as well.

Keep in mind that high amounts of stress could be causing changes in their behavior. Are any major events happening in their life, such as a death in the family or a significant move?

By taking any external factors into account first, you can rule out the possibility that something else is causing their memory loss and be more prepared when you have the conversation with them.

Step #3: Educate Yourself About the Signs and Symptoms of Dementia

There are several different types of dementia, each affecting the brain and every person differently. With this being said, there are common signs and symptoms of dementia that you can look for in your parent or family member.

Some of these include:

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  • Challenges planning or solving problems
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks
  • Confusion with time or place
  • Trouble understanding visual and spatial relationships
  • Difficulty with speaking or writing
  • Changes in mood or personality

By understanding the common symptoms, you will know what to look for and better gauge if the changes you are noticing are cause for concern. If you notice these symptoms, it may be time to talk to your parent’s doctor.

Have the Conversation

Step #4: Plan What You Will Say

Going into the conversation with a plan will help it go more smoothly. Approach the topic gently and reassure Mom or Dad that you are coming from a place of concern rather than judgment.

Again, address specific examples of changes you have been noticing and ask if they have been feeling or noticing any changes as well.

Step #5: Offer to Accompany Them to the Doctor

Sometimes, the unknown can be scarier than the actual diagnosis. If Mom or Dad is hesitant about going to the doctor, support them by offering to go with them. Encourage them by letting them know that several things could be causing these changes, but the only way to find out what is going on and get peace of mind is by consulting a doctor.

Step #6: Find Memory Care

Memory care communities are designed to help manage symptoms associated with dementia and enhance the quality of life of individuals living with memory impairments within a safe environment.

Our innovative memory care program in Pleasant Hill, Tennessee, ensures that residents receive the comfort and support they need with around-the-clock personal care while experiencing purposeful living that contributes to their physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness.

At Uplands Village, we understand that memory loss has challenges, and your parent’s comfort and emotional well-being are our first priority. That is why we help residents experience joy through a holistic approach that cares for them comprehensively.

If you want to learn more about compassionate memory care options in Pleasant Hill, Tennessee, we invite you to visit our website or contact our Uplands Village team.