Memory Problems and Aging: What’s Normal and What’s Not?

elderly woman discussing with her nurse

Memory problems almost always occur, and with the aging of an individual, this problem is almost inevitable. However, there is a line between what is usual and what is not. Dementia, unlike popular belief, is not a disease that is exclusive to the elderly, in fact, according to the World Health Organization(WHO), there is 9% of cases which does not include individuals at 65 years and above.

However, you should be especially careful with your mental health once you clock this age (65), as according to the Alzheimer’s Society in the UK, about 1 in 4  persons who are at this age have been diagnosed with dementia. The question is how do you know if you are having this disease or are just unable to remember where you dropped your keys.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. This disease affects the cognitive functions of a person leading to a serious decline in brain capabilities. This disease affects the carrier starting with benign memory loss until it reaches the point that he/she is unable to hold a conversation. There is sadly no acknowledged cure for this disease which means the holder may have it for the rest of their lives.

Nevertheless, there are ways by which early stages of dementia can be treated, some of which are exercise, regular balanced diet meals, having enough sleep, etc. Alzheimer’s, on the other hand, as explained earlier has no cure. This does not mean it cannot be contained. The best way to do this is by putting a patient with Alzheimer’s in an Alzheimer’s care home, these homes, also known as memory homes are great at helping Alzheimer’s patients get a better living.

They focus on helping the patients with exercise, feeding, clothing and so much more, the environment also makes it for the patients to wander about and get lost. Finding a good Alzheimer care home is quite easy, you could do a simple Google search in your locality and you will be provided with some of the best care homes around that area.

nurse handing a cup to an elderly woman

There are many ways by which you can know if your memory problem is regular forgetfulness or is something a little more drastic.

  • Forgetfulness:
  • This is the first way to know if you may need to see a doctor. This is not the regular “I forgot why I came into a room” type of forgetfulness but it is the type that occurs when you forget your house or an environment you are familiar with. If you ever experience something like this, it is best to quickly see a doctor
  • Anxiety, Depression, Hallucination, etc: If you notice weird patterns in your moods and feelings e.g depression, anxiety, paranoia, hallucination, and so on. These symptoms are mostly a result of loneliness so even if you put yourself in good company and it still lingers then it would be a really good idea to visit the doctor.
  • Inability to hold a conversation: This is a result of the disease on the person’s cognizance. It is best not to overlook this and disregarding it as a sign of dementia. This means the best move should be to visit the doctor.

Everyone forgets from time to time, some more than others. This is a standard part of the process of aging. However, memory loss can be severe. The mental health of the person can seriously deteriorate to the point where they are unable to recognize their homes and even the faces of their loved ones.

There are ways by which this can be prevented for that you should follow the tips mentioned below:

  • Do exercises that increase your heart rate.
  • Quit smoking and limit your alcohol use.
  • Maintain your cholesterol, blood sugar level, and blood pressure.
  • Take a nutritious diet and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Combat loneliness by staying positive and socially active.
  • Make your brain work by solving puzzles, quizzes, and other such games.

Although there is no evidence that following these suggestions will halt the slowing of your memory but you can still try to follow some tips to preserve your memory during the aging process.

However, if still the person still falls prey to terrible Alzheimer’s, it is best to notice this at the early stages so it can be controlled. Alzheimer’s care homes are a good place to go if the disease gets even more serious. Here, they would be properly catered for, in a safe and secure environment, this is the best option since there is currently no cure for the dreadful sickness.

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