It’s another beautiful day here in Panama City, Florida.
The sun is shining like it’s auditioning for America’s Got Talent.
The armadillo’s are frisky, and ‘fooling’ around with each other, with romantic intent.
And, the recent rain has unleashed the lawn mowers upon the neighborhood.
In other words, we’re living the dream around here…
Sure hope you are too!
Today, let’s talk a little about memory loss and when it is, and isn’t, a normal part of getting older… or, because it makes for a ‘sexier’ title, let’s lay out the question a different way:
When Is Forgetfulness a Sign of a Serious Mental Problem?
Around the age of 50, both men and women start noticing they’re forgetting things more easily.
Harmless inattention, in most cases.
Yet, aging does deteriorate our minds to some degree. But, there are different levels of memory loss.
Some loss of memory recall is perfectly normal and natural.
Forgetting a name, or where you put your car keys, aren’t reasons to start worrying that you’re losing your cognitive abilities.
The very act of worrying about a spotty memory, is almost a sure sign that you’re merely going through normal aging…
According to a Harvard Medical School Special Health Report:
“When Alzheimer’s or other dementia occurs, the person affected is often much less concerned about memory loss than his or her family members.
The reverse is true for normal age-related memory problems…”
Side Note: You can get the guide when you click on the following blue link: A Guide to Alzheimer’s Disease
Begin worrying when you spot signs of abnormal memory problems. They could be a sign that some form of dementia, or signs of Alzheimer’s Disease.
“Memory loss is abnormal in people with mild cognitive impairment or dementia (a loss of intellectual functions severe enough to interfere with everyday social or occupational functioning)…”
Signs of serious mental problem:
Walking into the kitchen and seeing a blender, but not understanding its use, for example, is a sign of abnormal or rapid memory dysfunction.
Not remembering where you’re going when you’re out on a drive, or forgetting why you went out on the first place, are both past the point of what’s considered typical memory loss for your 50’s, 60’s, or even older.
One of the first signs of the onset of dementia is not remembering recent events.
Case in point: ignorance of current events. Yet, having seemingly total recall of their growing up years.
People suffering with the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease, which could lead to dementia, often have language problems, e.g., inability understanding written and verbal instructions.
Not knowing the time of day, and being easily disorientated, are also signs of a serious mental health problem.
Other symptoms to look for, include:
- Difficulties comprehending new concepts, ideas.
- Declining problem solving skills.
- Problems with planning and unable to make timely decisions.
- Personality, and behavioral changes.
- Having delusions, and even hallucinations.
- Difficulties with routine social situations.
- Chronic changes in sleep patterns.
- Lack of personal hygiene, etc.
You get the idea…
Precursors of serious mental problems are quite different than the ‘run of the mill’ ones related to normal aging brains.
But, even if our memory issues are of the normal nature, it doesn’t mean we should ignore them…
They could be signs of other health issue such as a vitamin deficiency, dehydration, or an infection of some sort.
More Causes Of Poor Memory:
- Medications: both prescribed & over the counter.
- Stress, anxiety & depression.
- Thyroid problems.
- Not enough sleep.
It’s possible to reduce some of the effects normal aging has on our brain and on our memory.
In an article about aging memory loss, at the Mayo Clinic’s web site, they listed 7 ways to improve memory:
- Keep mentally active
- Stay socially involved & connected
- Get enough sleep
- Eat a balanced diet
- Exercise daily
- Follow-up on any chronic conditions
- Organize your home and life
We all forget things…
Things not especially crucial to us, are easily forgotten.
Even if you normally have an excellent memory, the odd memory lapse is seldom the sign of a mental problem.
The key to remember is, uh…darn I’ve forgotten…
Oh yeah, if you’re worried about your memory, odds are you’re most likely OK.
As usual, I’ll remind you… “I don’t know anything for certain and I’ve no advice about anything. My role is reporting upon my research and sharing personal stories with you.
Still, I hope to inspire you to accept what you can’t change and change what you can’t take.
Ideas for me, your aging related story, or comments are always very welcome.