Friday, July 1, 2016

Memory and Aging – When to Seek Help

Memory decline can be frustrating for everyone involved. All of a sudden names are harder to recall, finding things becomes much tighter than it used to be. Even simple things like remembering what you got up to do will start to become more difficult. Forgetfulness is a normal part of aging. Some memory problems are bound to happen as our friends and family members get older.
How can we tell whether memory problems are a normal part of the aging process or a sign of something more serious? For caretakers, family members and friends – understanding how to spot the difference between normal memory loss from aging and more serious memory conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is important.

Ordinary Aging or Something Else?

In order to differentiate between dementia and memory loss, we should be familiar with a few key facts. Memory loss and dementia may share some of the same characteristics, but they are very different. Just because someone becomes forgetful doesn’t necessarily mean that they have dementia. Remember that only a qualified doctor can give you an accurate diagnosis of dementia. Below we have a list of some normal age related memory problems. You may be experiencing normal memory problems from aging if the following occurs:
·       You get up to do something, and then you forget what it was you got up to do for a moment.
·       You can’t remember what day it is and you need to check the camera.
·       Occasionally you lost things like your glasses, wallet or keys; but you can usually find them after looking for a while.
·       You forget to pay a bill from time to time.
·       You forget the name of someone famous, then being able to recall it later on.
·       You forget to put things away, like the milk.
·       You forget what word you want to use for a moment.
·       You forget the name of an acquaintance.
·       You get lost when you are driving in an unfamiliar area.
·       You worry about losing your memory.
If you are experiencing the kinds of memory problems described above, there some things you can do to improve your memory. Staying physically active, eating healthy, avoiding tobacco, staying social and getting adequate rest are all good strategies to improve memory. One of the most important things is to stay mentally active through social interaction and learning. The MaCarthur Study showed a strong correlation between advanced education and memory performance.

Signs of Serious Memory Conditions

There are some telltale signs of memory loss that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. If you notice any of these, schedule a visit with your doctor to investigate the possible cause. You should be worried if you the following occurs: 
·       You leave the room to find something and then forget the reason why you got up.
·       Putting things in places that they don’t belong, such as leaving your clothes in the oven.
·       Forgetting what season or year it is, and not being able to remember when someone asks.
·       Misplacing things and not being able to find them unless you get help.
·       Being unable to properly manage a bank account and pay bills.
·       Making mistakes like leaving the front door wide open for no reason or leaving the stove on.
·       You have trouble conversing or responding when prompted.
·       Getting lost while driving in a part of town you are familiar with.

If you think that you or someone you know is experiencing memory loss that is beyond the scope of normal age related memory decline, it’s important to schedule an evaluation. There are comprehensive tests that can be performed to determine whether it is caused by a serious condition like Alzheimer’s disease. Depending on the results, there may be further actions and treatment options that need to be explored. Total Home Health Inc. can help you get connected with someone to answer your questions and get you started on the right path.

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