Minimize Those Minor Memory Mishaps

forgetfulness, memory loss, early dementiaIs “forgetfulness” freaking you out? Don’t fret!

If things often “slip your mind” it does not necessarily mean you have dementia or are destined to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Your ability to learn and retain new information starts to decline in your mid-fifties. It also becomes a bit more difficult to recall things as you age, or pull memories up from the past as quickly as you used to.

As you age you have probably noticed that you often find yourself searching for your phone, watch, sunglasses or car keys. Maybe you have trouble remembering the names of people you have just met or what you spent at the grocery store. Don’t get too frustrated, there are things you can do to sharpen your memory.

Common causes of memory “slips” include stress (the biggest of course), anxiety, lack of adequate sleep, nutritional deficiencies and too much alcohol.  The brain needs to be able to concentrate when it has to register new information, so stress and anxiety, tiredness and sleepiness make that difficult. Your brain needs a break, so rest at night is important because during deep sleep is when memories are strengthened and synapses grow. Some medical conditions and certain medications can affect memory too: tumors or infections in the brain, blood clots in the brain, and thyroid, kidney, or liver disorders, chronic pain etc.

A little forgetfulness here and there is nothing to worry about. But should there be a very sudden, uncharacteristic or notable change combined with an inability to focus or maintain attention on things, a discussion with your doctor is in order.

Want to keep you memory sharp? Try these memory boosters, tips and techniques:

     ~  Slow down and pay attention – don’t multitask when learning something new

     ~  Concentrate on what you are doing, repeat to build a strong memory

     ~  Avoid distractions and noisy environments when learning new things

     ~  Exercise to reduce stress, anxiety and minor depression

     ~  Check with your pharmacist or doctor to see if any of your prescriptions are affecting your memory

     ~  Leave keys, glasses, cell phone, jewelry, wallet, purse, and TV remotes in the same exact place every day

     ~  Use an agenda or calendar for plans or appointments and make a list for daily tasks

     ~  Limit alcohol

     ~  Get more sleepmemory issues

A serious memory problem may manifest itself as difficulty driving, shopping, communicating with family or friends. Warning signs include:

     ~  Confusion about date and time, people, and places

     ~  Asking the same questions over and over

     ~  Getting lost in places that are familiar

     ~  Not being able to follow directions

     ~  Poor healthcare

     ~  Bad judgement and unsafe behaviors

More helpful information on memory and forgetfulness can be found at the National Institute for Aging website:  

Contact Us: If forgetfulness becomes a serious issue and interferes with daily tasks and routines, or important items like managing finances and taking care of your health, it may be time to ask a professional for help. Often a nutritional deficiency, drug reaction, infection or fall can cause symptoms that mimic “dementia” – a clinician will know the difference after an assessment. Regal has experienced caregivers to assist with private duty daily in-home care if needed, and care managers to advocate for the client should dementia be the true diagnosis. Contact Ferial Andre, RN, CCM, CDP, at 561-499-8382 or for an assessment or consultation.

This article is not intended as medical advice

Friday, April 22, 2016 @ 04:04 PM