Hosting the family for Thanksgiving and Christmas is what parents do for the Holidays. It’s a lot of work with many moving parts that require timing and advance planning. Maybe you notice that your mom is having trouble with recalling a few names, or a particular recent event, or can’t find the exact word she wants to use or seems confused about what to do next when guests are talking to her all at once. Mild cognitive impairment is not uncommon in seniors and often is age appropriate. A person with mild cognitive impairment does not mean they have some form of dementia.
Dementia is not a normal part of aging. It is a major organic condition involving cognitive deficits. It usually develops over time. Adult children should be concerned when familiar tasks become unfamiliar for a parent, their ability to perform activities of daily living has declined, they cannot follow directions, have trouble making simple choices, or have developed language processing difficulties that interfere with communication.
Concern is also warranted when there is a change in the personality or mood of a parent, for example, they are unusually irritable, or have become suspicious of those around them. If you notice any of these changes, bring them to the attention of your parents’ doctor.
For more information on memory and forgetfulness, visit the National Institute of Aging website: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/memory-forgetfulness-and-aging-whats-normal-and-whats-not .