Some memory loss is a normal part of aging, but certain memory problems may be related to other issues such as depression, dehydration or medical conditions such as Alzheimer's. The good news is: many types of memory loss are treatable. The following article will guide you in determining if your parent's memory loss is normal or more serious, and what you can do to help.
As a rule of thumb, memory loss can be identified as serious when it affects your parent's daily living activities. Specifically, here's a formula to follow: if the cognitive problems come on suddenly they could be the result of medication interactions; if the problems begin to happen over approximately one month to six weeks, they may be due to family or environmental factors. If the onset is over two months or more, something cognitively has changed, according to Nancy Bortinger, MSW, geriatric care manager.
Always consult your parent's doctor if you suspect his or her memory loss is more serious than normal.
Some symptoms of normal memory loss are:
Some symptoms of more serious memory loss are:
According to the National Institute on Aging, Alzheimer's disease starts by changing the recent memory. At first, a person with Alzheimer's disease will remember even small details of his or her distant past but not be able to remember recent events or conversations. Over time, the disease affects all parts of the memory.
A number of health, medical and psychological issues can cause serious, but treatable memory loss:
Treatments for these issues can run the gamut from medications including antidepressants to healthier eating, improvement in social activities and other tips listed below.
Even if your parent is in the early stages of Alzheimer's, or is struggling with recovering memory loss because of other issues, the following can help improve the situation: