We’ve all had the experience of not remembering. As we age some of us dismiss this as part of aging and some of us fear it’s the first sign of Alzheimer’s. How do we know who is right?
Experts say that mild memory loss is normal as we age. Occasional forgetfulness does not mean you’re developing Alzheimer’s. If we’re concerned about developing the disease, have normal memory lapses we easily focus on what we’re forgetting. Knowing the difference between normal memory issues and memory loss we should worry about is tricky.
Our brains are capable of creating new brain cells at any age so significant memory loss is not normal. Brains are like muscles and need to be kept strong just like the rest of our bodies. Lifestyle can have a huge impact on the health of our brains. What we eat, and drink, how much exercise we get, how well we sleep are all important factors into brain health. The other is to regularly challenge our brains by learning something new. Anything that forces you to “think hard” or forces you to really concentrate are good for your brain.
Normal Forgetfulness VS Dementia
Occasional lapses in memory are normal, not a warning sign of Alzheimer’s or dementia. If you find yourself with some of the following memory issues you’ll want to get checked out immediately.
- Forgetting names of people you just met or calling one person by another name?
- Do you occasionally forget where you left things like glasses or car keys?
- Occasionally forgetting an appointment or walking into a room and not remembering why?
- Are you easily distracted or have trouble remembering what you just read or the details of a conversation?
- More frequently being unable to retrieve information that’s on “the tip of your tongue”
It’s time to consult a doctor when memory lapses become frequent enough or sufficiently noticeable to concern you or a family member. This is not the time to pretend all is well. Early intervention may allow you to have more good years than not so call the doctor and have a FULL workup scheduled. The traditional pen and pencil memory test which usually takes less than 10 minutes may not be sufficient to detect a problem.
Reversible Causes of Memory Loss
Memory problems don’t automatically mean you have dementia. There are many reasons why you may be having cognitive problems. Some reversible causes include stress, depression, poor sleep or even vitamin deficiencies. Some prescription medications may also have side effects that cause memory issues. This is why seeing your doctor is so important.
On this episode of the podcast I talk to Vicki Tapia about acknowledging when our parents need help Her experiences as a caregiver to her parents and how she coped led her to writing a book. “Someone Stole My Iron” offers useful information from experts in the field of Alzheimer’s research, personal lessons learned along the way, and ideas/tips for managing the day-to-day ups and downs of dementia. It is a story of holding on and ultimately learning to let go, transcending the pain and turmoil to discover love and compassion. “Someone Stole my Iron” chronicles her Mothers determination to navigate the confusing and terrifying world of memory loss.
You’ll find our conversation full of personal struggles that are universal and our approach to them educational. Together we cover a lot of ground on caregiving challenge.