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Memory Loss, Aging, and Dementia

MEMORY LOSS, AGING, AND DEMENTIA

Our brains change as we age just like the rest of our bodies

We may experience some slowed thinking and problems remembering. However, serious memory loss, confusion and other major changes in the ways our minds work are not a normal part of aging.

There are conditions which can disrupt memory and mental (or cognitive) functioning. Symptoms can improve if the underlying cause is treated.

Some causes of memory loss include:

  • Depression
  • Medication side effects
  • Excess use of alcohol
  • Thyroid problems
  • Poor diet
  • Vitamin deficiences
  • Certain infections
  • High fever

Some memory changes may be age related and others are not. Following are some differences:

 

NORMAL AGE RELATED SYMPTOMS OF ALZHEIMER'S
Forgets part of an experience

Forgets whole experiences

Often will remember at a later time Rarely remembers later
Usually able to follow written/spoken directions Gradually unable to follow written/spoken directions
Usually able to use notes Gradually unable to use notes
Usually able to care for self

Gradually unable to care for self

Memory loss which disrupts everyday functioing is not a normal part of aging.

The Alzheimer's Association has develped a checklist which helps to recognize the differences between normal, age-related memory changes and Alzheimer's disease.

 

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