Many older adults worry about their memory, especially if they notice an increase in forgetting things, such as appointments or where they placed their keys. Some decline in memory and even thinking abilities is fairly common for older adults. However, there is a difference between memory loss and dementia. As we age, we may need additional help with daily tasks such as paying bills or purchasing groceries. If memory issues begin to disrupt daily life, it may not be normal and could be a sign of something more serious.
There are a few ways to recognize the difference between normal memory loss and memory issues that may possibly require medical attention. If you’re unsure if your forgetfulness is normal, consider the following signs to inform your next steps:
Signs of age-related memory loss:
Signs of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia:
Keep in mind that as we age, it becomes increasingly difficult to take in, retain and learn new information. You may consider using tools like weekly pill boxes, calendars, automatic payments and notebooks for write important things down. If you’re having signs of memory loss that mimic those of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, you should consult your health care provider right away. However, it’s important to stay calm. There are many different reasons why you may be experiencing memory loss and forgetfulness that may not be linked to dementia.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are a number of conditions that can cause memory loss in older adults. In fact, many medical problems can cause dementia-like symptoms, most of which can be treated or reversed. According to the Mayo Clinic, possible causes of reversible memory loss include:
It’s important to be able to recognize the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease, especially if you’re noticing changes in your memory. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to contact your healthcare provider. An early diagnosis can help you manage your symptoms and create a network of support. Here are the signs to look for according to the Alzheimer’s Association:
If you notice symptoms and behaviors that are similar to those linked with Alzheimer’s disease, you should contact your primary care physician. An early diagnosis will allow you to get the support you need early on in the disease. At your doctor’s appointment, your physician will most likely use a series of tests to determine a diagnosis.
If you’re experiencing normal age-related memory loss, there are tools designed to help you cope with forgetfulness. Technology, such as virtual assistant devices, allow you to set reminders and alarms to help you stay on track. You may also consider asking your physician for additional resources.
At Maplewood Senior Living, we know how challenging memory loss can be, especially for older adults. Our highly-trained staff offers tools and techniques to live with memory loss without sacrificing independence. To learn more about our offerings or to schedule a tour, please contact us today!
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