Memory Care

How to Read the Signs that a Parent Has Dementia

Dementia refers to a collection of symptoms that occurs from brain damage. These symptoms can range in severity and cause impairments in thought, communication and memory. At first, the signs of dementia can be subtle, especially if you don’t see or talk to your parent every day.

Over time, however, the symptoms will worsen. Most families come to a point where they need to decide between assisted living or memory care in Simi Valley. Recognizing the early warning signs of dementia will allow you to plan accordingly for the future.

How to Tell the Difference Between Age-Related Memory Loss and Dementia

Age-related memory loss is a normal part of the aging process. There are three main reasons why memory loss happens with age:

●       Hormones and proteins that repair brain cells and stimulate new neural growth decrease with age.

●       Blood flow to the brain decreases, impairing memory and cognitive skills.

●       The hippocampus often deteriorates during the aging process. Brain cells die as well.

While memory lapses can be frustrating, they’re usually not a cause for concern. If given a minute, your parent should be able to recall the information. Additionally, age-related memory loss does not interfere with a normal lifestyle. As long as your parent is functioning normally, pursuing regular activities and making good decisions, their memory lapses should not be a cause for concern.

Dementia, on the other hand, is not a normal part of the aging process. Eventually, it does interfere with a normal life. The memory loss and cognitive changes become too intense to work, socialize and participate in activities. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, but other conditions can cause these symptoms as well.

Signs that Your Parent May Have Dementia

To help you understand what you might be dealing with, it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of dementia. If you believe that your parent has more than age-related memory loss, schedule an appointment with a qualified medical doctor for a diagnosis.

Short-term memory changes

Trouble remembering information can be an early sign of dementia. It’s usually subtle and tends to involve short-term memory. You might find that your parent remembers things from years ago but can’t remember what they ate for lunch.

Loss for words

People with dementia often have trouble communicating their thoughts. They may find it difficult to explain something or find the right words to express themselves. If the conversations with your parent have been more strenuous lately, the start of dementia could be the reason.

Mood changes

Another symptom of dementia is mood changes. Your parent is probably aware of the changes happening, and they may not recognize themselves anymore. This can lead to a wide range of emotions like depression and anxiety.

Less interest in hobbies

A person with dementia often loses interest in hobbies and activities. They may not want to go out anymore or socialize with their friends. This happens for a number of reasons, including personality changes and mood changes.


It’s normal to feel confused in the early stages of dementia. Memory, thinking and judgement are all affected, so it’s only natural that your parent may be feeling confused, especially when there’s a lot going on.


Has your parent been repeating themselves or telling the same stories over and over again? This is another sign of dementia. Repetitiveness is common because of short-term memory loss and behavioral changes.

Trouble completing tasks

If you’ve noticed that your parent is having trouble completing normal tasks, discuss this with their doctor. This usually starts with more difficult but regularly performed tasks like paying bills or budgeting.

If My Parent Has Dementia, What are the Next Steps?

Only a doctor can make a dementia diagnosis. It’s possible that these symptoms are being caused from something else like depression, an infection, a brain tumor or certain medications.

If the doctor does diagnose your loved one with dementia, changes will need to be made to keep your parent safe and healthy. Dementia does not mean the end of an active, fulfilling life, but this is a progressive disease that will get worse over time.

Some people are able to live independently for months or years, while others need immediate help with dementia care in Simi Valley. The right senior living community can support your loved one and encourage them to lead a vibrant life that is filled with activities, socialization and comfortable amenities.

Memory Care in Ventura County

Varenita of Simi Valley is an excellent senior housing option for a parent with memory impairment. Our secure memory care neighborhood provides assistance with daily tasks, specialized memory care programming and amenities like housekeeping and laundry services.

To learn more about our dementia facilities in Simi Valley, as well as our programs that promote healthy, independent living at any age, contact our team today.