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3 early warning signs of age-related cognitive impairment

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2023 | Elder Law |

As someone’s health and family circumstances evolve during their golden years, their needs and intentions for estate planning will continue to shift as well. Eventually, for some adults, the impact of aging will influence their ability to draft legally-binding paperwork.

Even if someone does put estate planning paperwork together while dealing with health issues that affect their cognition, family members or other concerned parties might challenge testamentary paperwork that someone creates during or after any noticeable cognitive decline. They may also require the support of a conservatorship or guardianship. The three warning signs below are all potential indicators that an older adult may have memory or cognitive issues that could impact their capacity in the eyes of the Colorado probate courts.

Difficulty making or following plans

Adults are usually capable of evaluating a situation to determine what they need to do and then putting together a plan to fulfill those responsibilities. Examples might include looking at what is in the pantry and refrigerator to put together meals for the week and then grocery shop to fill in the gaps. When someone has difficulty planning to meet their needs or following the steps of a plan after putting one together, those are warning signs that they may struggle with the independent management of their daily lives.

Memory loss issues and confusion

Perhaps someone will walk into a room and then laughingly declare that they do not remember what they came into the room to do in the first place. That happens to people of all ages when they become distracted or feel tired, but confusion and memory issues can be warning signs of dementia and cognitive decline, especially when the issues become persistent for an older adult.

Trouble handling an emergency

It is natural for people to momentarily panic or feel flustered when something unexpected happens. However, if someone truly cannot take appropriate steps to respond to a dog biting their grandchild or their spouse falling off a step ladder, then that inability to rationally analyze the situation and respond appropriately could be an indicator of cognitive impairment that will likely worsen as someone continues to age.

Family members who start noticing signs of cognitive impairment may need to take action on behalf of their loved ones to protect them from the dangers of declining acuity. Recognizing the early warning signs before someone becomes truly incapacitated can protect them from the worst consequences of age-related cognitive impairment. It can also help loved ones to encourage older adults to get their affairs in order before the court could potentially overturn their wishes as a result of their advanced challenges.