Updated: Dec 20, 2021
Many peoples’ memories worsen over time, a natural reality, and for this reason a number of seniors may deal with memory loss issues of some kind. How can caregivers, doctors or even seniors themselves tell whether such issues are just simple results of aging, or potentially symptoms of a specific memory loss condition like dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease?
Residents of Avamere at Mountain Ridge have access to our high-quality memory care program, one that’s in place for a variety of memory situations or conditions you or your loved one may be experiencing. Here’s a basic primer on when a given senior’s memory concerns are likely just the cause of expected aging versus when they may be signaling symptoms of dementia or other severe conditions that require specific attention.
Standard Age-Related Memory Issues
There are a few issues that many older adults begin to experience regarding their memories that, while frustrating, don’t typically signal a major cause for concern. These tend to include basic forgetfulness, which is possible in a couple forms:
Absentmindedness and transience: Per Harvard Medical School, these two specific symptoms within memory loss areas are a normal part of the aging process. Transience describes the natural loss of certain memories over time – it actually might be a good thing, as it signals the brain is actively removing old memories to make room for new ones. Absentmindedness, on the other hand, refers to brain focus areas like forgetting an important date or an appointment.
Other mental issues: There are also many other health conditions that may contribute to memory loss, from depression to anxiety and several others. Some of these may also trace to individual instances.
Possible Signs of Dementia
On the flip side, there are certain memory concerns that may indicate early signs of dementia. These are highly worrying in some cases, as dementia is a progressive disease that often moves quickly and gets worse with time. Here are a few of these signs:
Important information: With dementia, forgetfulness will go beyond the occasional missed date or forgetting where something was. Important information will regularly be forgotten, including the names of loved ones or friends and even certain basic words in some cases.
Disorientation: Another common dementia symptom is disorientation in new environments, both in terms of place and time. Major insecurity or aggravation might be present in any kind of unusual environment.
Personality change: Those with dementia also often undergo major personality changes, including moves to paranoia, aggression or impulsiveness.
For more on differentiating the signs of dementia with standard memory loss expectations during the aging process, or to learn about any of our memory care or assisted living services, speak to the staff with Avamere at Mountain Ridge today.