For the next few weeks my Memory Fitness Matters blogs will center on information that may be helpful to those concerned about changes in memory beyond normal aging. As a speech-language pathologist, I see many older adults in their 80’s and 90’s with minimal memory issues. Just this year several friends, a family member and one of my clients celebrated their 85th or 90th birthday and they are all interesting, active people who show no signs of memory difficulties beyond normal aging. This dispels the comments I hear too often that everyone is going to have dementia eventually.
On the other hand, I have recently heard more stories from friends about people they know fairly well, in their mid sixties to early seventies, who seem to be having some memory issues they had not noticed before. It may seem like nothing outstanding but more like the person has lost their edge when it comes to planning, following through, organizing or recalling details from previous conversations.
In recent years I have met several people initially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease when the cause was normal pressure hydrocephalus. For others just getting a hearing aid made a difference. There are many reversible causes of memory loss so the first place to start when some subtle changes are noticed is with a complete physical. If you feel your doctor is not addressing your concerns the way you would like, contact your local Alzheimer’s Association for information on where you can schedule a geriatric assessment for a complete workup and recommendations.
Refer to these articles and blogs on “Do these Changes Mean Something?” for more information. Some of the common questions addressed include:
- Are you hearing frequent complaints of forgetfulness?
- Is there a significant hearing loss?
- Do you notice frequent word finding difficulties or have to supply the needed words for
someone more often?
- Has there been an increase in repeated questions or are the same stories told over and over?
- Does the person participate less often in conversation or activities that used to be
- Do you have concerns about the person being able to handle a job, prepare meals, drive a
car, or handle financial affairs?
For further information you may want to refer to the articles and the blogs on related topics. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in more information about a private consultation.
Want to enhance your visits when a loved one has dementia? Take a look at Reminiscence Puzzle series, Daily Calendar and 20th Century in Review. You may like to have the information in the Memory Fitness Toolkit. which includes tips for memory fitness plus a wide variety of Brain Teasers. The Communication Connection Resource Kit provides a wide variety of activities.
“To teach is to understand. To learn is wisdom. To learn together is understanding wisdom.” Sid Mendenhall