Throughout our lives, we often have moments of forgetfulness where we can’t remember the location we parked the car at the grocery store, misplace our keys, or forget a new acquaintance’s name. And, as you get older, you might start to experience these memory lapses somewhat more often.
Forgetfulness can naturally be a part of the aging process. However, some seniors may start to become concerned that something more serious is going on with their brains, especially knowing that Alzheimer’s disease is most prevalent in adults over the age of 65. This is why it’s important to understand the difference between age-related memory loss and some of the common warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Arming yourself with the facts allows you to make an educated decision about when it might be time to seek your doctor’s advice.
Aging brings physical changes to your body, your brain included. Some neurons simply shrink as you age, while others may be damaged by molecules known as free radicals. Neurons in the brain can also be damaged by conditions like high blood pressure. When neurons are damaged, it can become difficult to remember some recently-learned information like your new neighbor’s name.
Plus, medical conditions like thyroid or liver disorders, medication side effects or simply not leading a healthy lifestyle can all have an impact on your memory. Emotional issues like high levels of stress, depression or anxiety can also make you more forgetful and can sometimes be mistaken for Alzheimer’s symptoms.
Some of the most common memory lapses due to the above conditions include:
The good news is that by making some healthy adjustments to your lifestyle, including incorporating essential vitamins and minerals into your diet, getting regular exercise, and lowering your stress levels, you can slow down some of the normal cognitive decline associated with aging.
Memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease, on the other hand, becomes severe enough that it starts to disrupt your daily life. The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s affects one in five Americans, and by the year 2050 is projected to affect more than 16 million Americans. It is a progressive disease, meaning that the symptoms start off mild but will worsen over time.
Some of the most common warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease include:
Although currently there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, the sooner you receive a diagnosis the sooner you can begin treatment that could slow down the progression of some symptoms. If your memory loss disrupts your social life, relationships, career and hobbies, these are signs that it is more than just a daily annoyance.
At Western Home Communities, you’ll find the compassionate memory care you or your loved needs in the secure environment known as Thalman Square. Our unique memory care program focuses on emotional connections, therapeutic recreation and active engagement in daily life while in the company of warm, loving caregivers who become extended family. Contact us today for more information about our memory care neighborhood by calling (319) 277-2141.