As an older adult, misplacing keys or occasionally forgetting someone’s name may cause some concern. While memory lapses can be troubling, age-related memory changes are not the same as dementia.
Today, we go over the differences between normal aging memory loss and more serious cognitive issues.
The brain can produce new brain cells at any age, so substantial memory loss is not an inevitable part of aging. However, lifestyle habits and daily activities may impact brain health and affect memory loss.
There are a few reasons for age-related memory difficulties. One of them includes changes in the hippocampus — or the area of the brain responsible for retrieving memories. This area of the brain deteriorates with age.
Additionally, hormones and proteins that protect and repair brain cells decline with age. It’s also believed that older people experience less blood flow to the brain, which influences memory and cognitive skills.
Lapses in short-term memory are a normal part of aging and are not a warning sign of dementia or Alzheimer’s.
The following are types of memory issues that are normal for an aging adult:
Occasionally displacing regularly used items like keys or glasses.
Forgetting names of acquaintances or mistaking names.
Occasionally forgetting an appointment
Becoming easily distracted or having issues remembering details of a conversation.
Slowing of recalling words or having information “on the tip of the tongue”.
Typical memory loss doesn’t affect the ability to function or perform daily activities. Severe mental deterioration, on the other hand, is debilitating.
Disorders like dementia are signaled by a persistent decline in cognitive abilities like memory judgment and abstract thinking.
Here are a few warning signs of a serious memory decline:
Difficulty performing simple tasks like paying bills and showering.
Getting lost or disoriented in familiar places.
Slow judgment or trouble making choices.
Frequently forgetting words or trouble holding a conversation.
Inability to recall instances of memory loss.
If memory lapses are frequent or interfere with daily living, it may signal a critical memory disorder.
In-home caregiving can help support patients and loved ones living with dementia. The team at La Bella Vita provides professional and benevolent care you can rely on.
Contact us to explore your options for in-home care.
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