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Is it Alzheimer’s or Normal Memory Loss?

senior woman looking away

For many older adults, losing their memory and ability to think clearly is one of their biggest fears. But just because your loved one loses their keys or forget someone’s name is no reason to fear the worst.

Memory loss and confusion can be caused by any number of things, such as diabetes, thyroid problems, medication side effects, stress, depression or alcohol abuse. If you’re concerned about memory loss in a loved one, especially if memory problems are affecting daily life, see their  family doctor. A doctor can identify any underlying conditions that may be affecting memory, help them manage stress in a healthy way, or adjust medications that may be causing a loved one memory problems. 

What are the signs of Alzheimer’s disease?

Signs of Alzheimer’s may include memory loss, but the disease also affects theability to think clearly; use language; and be your normal, cheerful self. Some people notice changes in themselves before anyone else does. For other people, friends and family are the first to see changes in memory, behavior or abilities. People with one or more of these 10 warning signs should see their doctor to find the cause. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life: forgetting events, repeating oneself, or relying more on aids to help them remember (like sticky notes or reminders).

What’s a typical age-related change? Sometimes forgetting names or appointments but remembering them later.

2. Challenges in planning or solving problems: having trouble paying bills or cooking recipes you’ve used for years.

What’s a typical age-related change? Making occasional errors when balancing a checkbook.

3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or at leisure: having problems with cooking, driving places, using a cellphone, or shopping.

What’s a typical age-related change? Occasionally needing help to use the setting on a microwave or to record a TV show.

4. Confusion with time or place: having trouble understanding an event that is happening later or losing track of dates.

What’s a typical age-related change? Getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later.

5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relations: having more difficulty with balance or judging distance, tripping over things at home, or spilling or dropping things more often.

What’s a typical age-related change? Vision changes related to cataracts.

6. New problems with words in speaking or writing: having trouble following or joining a conversation or struggling to find a word they are looking for (saying “that thing on your wrist that tells time” instead of “watch”).

What’s a typical age-related change? Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.

7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps: placing car keys in the washer or dryer or not being able to retrace steps to find something.

What’s a typical age-related change? Misplacing things from time to time, such as a pair of glasses or the remote control.

8. Decreased or poor judgment: being a victim of a scam, not managing money well, paying less attention to hygiene, or having trouble taking care of a pet.

What’s a typical age-related change? Making a bad decision once in a while.

9. Withdrawal from work or social activities: not wanting to go to church or other activities as you usually do; not being able to follow football games or keep up with what’s happening.

What’s a typical age-related change? Sometimes feeling weary of work, family and social obligations.

10. Changes in mood and personality: getting easily upset in common situations or being fearful or suspicious.

What’s a typical age-related change? Developing very specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.

Memory Care at Arbol Residences

Our dedicated memory care neighborhood offers a safe, supportive setting for people living with memory loss. Comfortable apartments, inviting common areas and highly trained staff make residents feel right at home. Our goal is to connect each resident’s remaining abilities and interests with personally meaningful activities — resulting in a greater sense of accomplishment and well-being. To learn how we can provide the best quality of life for your loved one, get in touch.