Did You Just Forget, or Is It Something More Serious?
Can’t find the car keys? Call your wife by your daughter’s name? Should you be worried? Or are these just a normal lapse in memory?
Many episodes of memory loss are entirely normal, especially as we age. Once you reach your 40’s, the average person starts experiencing a decline in memory. Absentmindedness or forgetting details are often considered normal memory lapses. Some scientists believe the sheer volume of memories contribute to this. Fatigue and stress also contribute. So, when should you worry if you or a loved one are experiencing something more?
Memory loss that disrupts daily life may be a symptom of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. For instance, forgetting where you put the car keys is normal, forgetting what car keys are for is not. Getting lost in familiar places is another warning sign. The Alzheimer’s Association has published a helpful table to highlight the differences:
Signs of Alzheimer’s/dementia
Typical age-related changes
|Poor judgment and decision-making||Making a bad decision once in a while|
|Inability to manage a budget||Missing a monthly payment|
|Losing track of the date or the season||Forgetting which day it is and remembering it later|
|Difficulty having a conversation||Sometimes forgetting which word to use|
|Misplacing things and being unable to retrace steps to find them||Losing things from time to time|
If you notice some warning signs in yourself or someone you know, don’t ignore them. Schedule an appointment with your doctor. They can help determine if there is an issue. If the diagnosis is dementia they can determine the form. Many forms are treatable.
Even if the diagnosis is Alzheimer’s, with early detection you can get the maximum benefit from available treatments – You can explore treatments that may provide some relief of symptoms and help you maintain a level of independence longer. You may also increase your chances of participating in clinical drug trials that help advance research.
Seniors Helping Seniors of North and East Raleigh is owned and operated by dementia certified practitioners and participates in the effort to obtain a dementia friendly community status for the Wake Forest community. If you have questions or need help, visit our website inhomecarenc.com or call 919.761.5346.
Kathy is a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP) who is active in several other senior related organizations, including Alzheimer’s State Champion program, Friends of the Northern Wake Senior Center board member, Ambassador for the Rolesville Chamber of Commerce, Aging Life Care Association (ALCA), Health Affairs Round Table (HART), and Senior Information Networking Group (SING).