5 Ways Seniors and Their Spouses Hide Dementia

5 Ways Seniors and Their Spouses Hide Dementia

Sep 03 2018

Sometimes the early signs of Alzheimer's disease or a related form of dementia are small. An older adult might forget an appointment or the name of a friend. It's easy to chalk that forgetfulness up to a "senior moment" or a normal part of growing older. If symptoms worsen or become more frequent, however, a senior or their spouse might begin to suspect they have Alzheimer's.

While there are a variety of other conditions that can mimic Alzheimer's or a similar type of dementia, people aren't as familiar with those illnesses. Leaping to the conclusion that these changes are the early signs of dementia, usually Alzheimer's disease, isn't uncommon.

A senior or their spouse might be afraid adult children will step in and force them to make changes. Giving up driving, being forced to sell their home, and losing their independence are fears older adults express. It can lead them to try to hide the symptoms of dementia from others.

5 Signs a Senior Might be Hiding Memory Loss

1.  Speaking for or over a spouse:


When a senior begins to struggle with memory loss, their partner might try to hide it by finishing their sentences or talking for them. While this might already be a habit for couples who have been together for many years, it becomes more pronounced when they suspect there is a problem.

2.  Writing "directions" down:


If you find notes with "directions" an older adult in your family is writing to themselves, it might be a signal they are struggling with memory. It could be directions on how to work the coffee pot or get to the grocery store. Because even long-familiar tasks become more difficult for someone struggling with memory loss, these reminders become necessary for them to accomplish even basic tasks.

3.  Withdrawing from social activities:


When a senior's memory begins to fail, it becomes difficult for them to carry on a conversation and to socialize with friends and family members. In an effort to hide their situation and possibly to avoid embarrassment, the older adult might withdraw from social organizations and stop attending family gatherings.

4.  Making excuses for changes:


An older adult who is trying to hide memory loss might become skilled at making excuses to cover up their struggle. In the short-term, they may be able to get away with using excuses without anyone being the wiser. Insomnia, a medication side effect, or a headache can all be convenient excuses to cover up why an older adult is having trouble remembering someone or something.

5.  Blaming it on aging:


Because the average age an adult is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease is 80, a senior might deny there is a problem beyond normal aging. It's important to know, though, that memory loss severe enough to impact daily life is not a typical sign of aging.


One challenge families face when a senior has been hiding the early signs of dementia is that the disease has often progressed by the time loved ones discover there is a problem. It may require intervention and a quick move to a memory care community.

Find a Memory Care Program Near Your Home


Loved ones might find themselves searching for an assisted living community that offers a memory care program in the midst of a crisis. The senior may be wandering or experiencing bouts of agitation or aggression. These can be challenging safety issues to contend with at home.

Our senior care advisors have experience helping spouses, adult children, and other family members quickly explore local assisted living communities. A care advisor can help by focusing your search efforts on communities with open rooms that are in your desired location and budget.

Call 888-514-6461 to talk with one of our experienced local advisors for free!

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