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August 8, 2018

Behaviors to Pay Attention to If You Are Concerned About Your Parent’s Cognitive Functioning

If you are like many family caregivers, one issue you may worry about is cognitive functioning. You may be concerned your senior is experiencing a decline in their cognitive functioning, or that they are no longer able to properly care for themselves. Being able to detect the earliest signs of cognitive function decline allow you to modify and adjust your care approach to ensure your senior’s ability stay safe and healthy, while also promoting as much independence and autonomy as possible as they age.

While many people think cognitive functioning decline is extremely obvious, this is not always the case. This type of decline often occurs gradually, and paying attention to certain behaviors can help you as their caregiver detect when your parent might be experiencing this type of difficulty.

Some behaviors to pay attention to if you are concerned about your parents cognitive functioning include:

Issues with memory or thinking that occur daily. While it is normal for seniors to struggle with some slowed memory or thinking issues as they get older, if these happen every day, and impact their life noticeably, they might be a sign of something more serious.

Challenges with learning new things. The old adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” isn’t true. Your parent should still be able to enjoy learning new skills, games, activities, names, and more. If they struggle with these, they might be dealing with problems with their cognitive functioning.

Problems with their personal finances. If your senior has always been able to manage their finances, such as balancing a checkbook or paying bills, but is having trouble now, take note. Look for past due notices, overdrafts, or them not being able to buy necessities because of going over their monthly budget.

Thinking it is the wrong month or year. Everyone occasionally can’t remember what day it is, or writes down the wrong year. It might be a more serious problem, though, if your parent often forgets the month or thinks it is the wrong year.

Making poor judgements. Decision-making is an important indicator of cognitive functioning. If your parent is suddenly doing things such as engaging in dangerous behaviors, spending large amounts of money, or not following basic normal behaviors such as closing the windows when it rains, they might be struggling with cognitive functioning decline.

If your aging parent has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, or is dealing with cognitive functioning decline due to other health issues, now may be the perfect time for you to start home care. A decline in cognitive functioning can not only make it harder for your senior to fulfill activities of daily living and personal care needs, but can also put them at higher risk of danger, and threaten their independence.

An in-home senior care services provider can help your parent maintain greater independence and autonomy, while supporting health and safety, through a set of customized services specific to their own needs, personality, and goals. This care can help your parent deal with their cognitive functioning decline, and can also reduce the stress you as a caregiver may experience while facing these challenges with your parent.

If you or an aging loved one are considering Caregiver Services in Oak Park IL, please contact the caring staff at Big Hearts Home Care today! 

Matthew Calcagno

Matthew is a graduate of Robert Morris College and is a U.S. Navy veteran.Matthew founded Big Hearts Home Care after over a decade at HP. Spending time volunteering at his grandparent’s senior center inspired him to make a bigger difference in the quality of care seniors receive.His grandfather whom turned 100 in 2015 is still a major inspiration to him in seeing that service is provided with a family focused touch.

It is his passion and commitment to providing quality service that has awarded Big Hearts Home Care as Provider of Choice and Employer of Choice in the Chicagoland area. He believes that being an independently owned and operated company allows him the flexibility to manage the business in a way that better serves the clients.


"Helping people is what I was meant to do; it inspires and motivates me," Calcagno said. "I also get to help veterans - assisting them in the VA pension process and providing care for several in the area. This is what I love to do."

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