For those of us baby boomers that are beginning to wonder if our forgetfulness could be a sign of a bigger problem, take this to heart from a Harvard Health Publications article titled “Is It Forgetfulness or Dementia? “
A certain increase in forgetfulness seems to be a normal byproduct of aging and is perhaps a result of changes in the brain that begin around age 50, such as a gradual loss of receptors on brain cells and a decline in certain neurotransmitters. It continues to say: Normal forgetfulness is neither progressive nor disabling. Such memory problems are likely to surface when you’re under stress, fatigued, ill, distracted, or overloaded.
That’s a load off my mind. But how do you know whether you should consult your doctor about memory issues?
Here’s a list of the ten most cited signs of Alzheimer’s disease from the Alzheimer’s Association:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life
- Challenges in planning or solving problems
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks
- Confusion with time or place
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
- New problems with words in speaking or writing
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
- Decreased or poor judgment
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
- Changes in mood and personality
Out of this list, I recognize 6 that affected my mother after a “mini stroke” disrupted her balance in 2005. It wasn’t until she fell and broke her hip in 2008 that we saw a complete change in her personality (called “sundowning”). A year later she was later diagnosed with dementia and had to move to a skilled nursing facility, where she died in 2014, at the age of 90.
If you suspect you or a loved one could be having memory issues, print out the attached PDF from the Alzheimer’s Association and write down any possible signs. From there, you’ll be better equipped to talk with your physician.
For the background on this post, check out this article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marie-marley/memory-problems_b_5581633.html?utm_hp_ref=health-post50