Every person loses things at times. As a person ages, they may wonder if their forgetfulness is something to be concerned about. Most people become more forgetful as they age, so this doesn’t automatically mean the person has dementia. How can a person know when they should be worried about memory loss?

Every person undergoes physiological changes as part of the aging process. These changes may lead to changes in brain functioning. For example, it takes a person longer to learn something as they grow older. However, that doesn’t mean every person will lose their memory. Knowing the difference between normal aging and memory loss is important for this reason.

What Causes Age-Related Memory Loss?

As a person ages, their hippocampus deteriorates. This deterioration makes it more difficult to form and retrieve memories. Hormone and protein levels in the body decrease, so it becomes harder to protect and repair brain cells. Stimulating neural growth in seniors becomes more of a challenge. In addition, blood flow to the brain often decreases. As a result, the person’s memory may be impaired and their cognitive skills may change.

Normal Memory Lapses

A person might forget where they set something. That does not mean they have dementia. They may also call a person by the wrong name or forget an appointment they made. These things happen, and they are nothing to worry about. When should a person become concerned and begin worrying about the need for memory care for seniors?

Normal Functioning

When memory lapses interfere with a person’s daily life, family members need to be concerned. Memory loss that becomes pervasive and affects the person’s work, relationships, and more needs to be investigated. It is time to see a doctor and learn what is going on.

If a person cannot complete simple tasks or forgets things they have done countless times, there is cause for concern. They get lost in familiar places and forget everyday words. This is a sign the problem has progressed beyond normal memory loss.

Mild Cognitive Impairment

Many people suffer from mild cognitive impairment. This is more than normal age-related memory loss but doesn’t reach the level of dementia. If a person forgets a family member’s name and struggles to recall this name after thinking about it for a while, mild cognitive impairment may be to blame. However, they can continue to live alone and function normally. They may or may not develop dementia over time. If they do, a senior living community may be the best option to help them.

When to Visit the Doctor

Men and women who have frequent memory lapses should see a doctor. They can determine if dementia is of concern or if the person has another medical problem leading to these symptoms. Family members should provide support for seniors as they learn what they are dealing with. Depending on the cause, memory loss may be reversible.

Reversible Memory Loss

Before looking into senior living options, the family must know what they are dealing with. The senior might have a vitamin deficiency that is easily reversed and won’t need assisted living. A vitamin B12 deficiency, however, can lead to permanent brain damage if not addressed promptly.

Depression and alcohol abuse can also lead to memory issues. Other possible causes of memory loss include thyroid issues, dehydration, and medication side effects. The doctor does a thorough examination of the individual during the senior wellness checkup to learn the cause of the memory loss and develop a treatment plan.

Handling Memory Loss

Men and women can do certain things to compensate for their memory loss. They need to spend time around others, as a lack of socialization can contribute to memory loss. Managing stress is crucial for similar reasons.

Seniors need to quit smoking and get plenty of sleep. Exercise and a healthy diet help to prevent memory loss. Brain exercise and regular checkups are also essential to a healthy brain.

Memory loss is a common problem among older adults. However, a person should not automatically assume they have dementia if they notice they are forgetting things more often. This might be a sign of a medical problem that needs to be addressed rather than an issue with the brain. Make an appointment with a doctor to determine the actual cause of the symptoms and develop a plan to address them. Knowledge is power in this situation.

About Sabal Palms Assisted Living & Memory Care

Sabal Palms Assisted Living & Memory Care strives to create a personal and carefree environment for every resident. We serve our residents with service based on integrity, honesty, and dignity.