Forgetful or Something More?
Is forgetfulness a sign of something more? While most people think memory issues automatically mean Alzheimer’s, luckily, that just isn’t true. Memory problems can be caused simply by age, medical conditions, or a cognitive impairment. As memory caregivers who work with South Jersey seniors with dementia, we completely understand your concern if you or a loved one has been a little more forgetful than usual. In this article, we will discuss how to tell the difference between the occasional recollection slip-up and when to be concerned about a possible memory loss condition.
As we age, forgetfulness can be a normal symptom. For example, you might notice it’s more difficult to remember things, it takes longer to learn new information, and you keep losing those darn glasses! These are usually normal signs of forgetfulness as we grow older, and they are nothing to be concerned about. However, it might be time to invest in a few pairs of glasses! Some additional signs of normal forgetfulness can include a missed monthly payment, forgetting the right word to use once in a while (don’t we all do that?!), forgetting what day it is and then remembering shortly after, and even making a bad decision once in a while…because no matter how old we are, we still make mistakes and that’s okay!
Memory Loss & Medical Conditions
While dementia and Alzheimers are the first conditions associated with memory loss, other medical conditions also have memory loss as a symptom. Memory loss from these conditions should go away once it is properly treated. The following conditions can cause serious memory problems: tumors, blood clots, and some thyroid, kidney, or liver disorders. A head injury like a concussion, drinking too much alcohol, and this one might surprise you, but not eating healthy enough could also contribute to temporary memory loss. If your diet is lacking essential vitamins and minerals like B12, that can often be the culprit. Medication side effects are also a possible cause of memory loss along with emotional problems. If you’re dealing with too much stress, anxiety, or depression, it can make you more forgetful and be mistaken for dementia. All that said, we encourage you to speak with your doctor if you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, and a second opinion never hurts if you’re still feeling questionable.
Alzheimer’s Disease & Dementia
Memory loss is often the first sign of Alzheimer’s and dementia, however, it’s not just losing your glasses’ forgetfulness. This memory loss disrupts your daily life and safety. This can look like not being able to remember that eggs go in the fridge, or having trouble driving to a familiar location. Another sign can be having trouble keeping up with a conversation, not just forgetting a word but repeating yourself or stopping in the middle of a conversation and not knowing how to continue. Alzheimer’s often shows up as poor judgment and making unsafe decisions, such as not keeping up with personal grooming or their home, leaving the oven on or a large pile of dishes in the sink, or avoiding the monthly bills altogether. In a more advanced situation, it could be wandering off in an unsafe area, getting lost while leaving home, or forgetting how you got somewhere. Some additional symptoms could be issues balancing and judging special relationships, drastic mood changes, confusion with a time or place, and withdrawal from work or social activities.
Tapestries Memory Care with UMC at The Shores
If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the above symptoms, we highly recommend promptly speaking with a doctor. Remember, memory loss that’s not linked to Alzheimer’s or dementia can usually be treated easily. However, if it is a more serious diagnosis, early detection is key to keeping you or your loved one safe.
With Tapestries Memory Care at The Shores, seniors with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia are safe and cared for by professionals. Our senior community setting also provides socialization, new hobbies, and exercise. In our care, your loved one can engage with life in a way that is meaningful and personal to them. Tapestries residents direct their own schedules, allowing them to live as they please, securely and happily.
We understand navigating memory loss is difficult time for you and everyone involved, and our team would be honored to help you through it. For more information about our Memory Care neighborhood in Cape May County, please visit our website at: https://umcommunities.org/theshores/