Memory Changes – Normal Aging and Beyond

What comes to mind when you have a memory glitch? Is it normal aging, stress or something more? Perhaps you notice some increased word finding difficulties, or more challenges with new learning or an inability to multitask like you used to. A good starting place might be a complete physical to determine if these changes might be due to one of the many reversible causes of memory loss.

In some cases there may be a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment.  While there are changes in memory the person may not be experiencing difficulties in their daily life. At times familiar tasks might seem a bit more challenging and some modifications may be helpful in reducing the anxiety which some people may experience.

Some people immediately go to the thought that this could be the beginning of Alzheimer’s disease, particularly if someone in their immediately family had that diagnosis. There are some areas where making some changes can be very helpful. Adopting a more positive, less worrisome attitude will help you to focus and pay attention better which are very important keys to remembering. All those distractions and multitasking contribute significantly to losing your train of thought or noticing what was put where.

Equally important to maximizing your ability to recall are your lifestyle choices including exercise, enough sleep, good eating habits and adequate hydration.

Then there are strategies to be used on a regular basis, including memory props, repeating the information, visualization and decreasing distractions to name a few.

In some cases a person under the age of 65 may develop dementia, often referred to young-onset dementia and there are additional areas of concern since often the person may still be working or raising a family. Connecting with resources once there is a diagnosis is important for all involved so that a proactive plan can be initiated including family education. It may be helpful to begin to create a system for updating medical information and creating a lifestyle care plan so that a person’s wishes could be honored as the person’s capabilities change.

Walking the journey with a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia is about meeting them where they are in their functioning. The ongoing education for all involved and connecting with appropriate resources is an essential part of the process.

 Kind hearts are the gardens, Kind thoughts are the roots,
 Kind words are the blossoms, Kind deeds are the fruits.
 19th century rhyme used in primary schools

For more information on memory fitness for successful aging, here is the complete listing of prior memory fitness blogs and the entire “Memory Matters” for ALL Ages series.

Information on Kathryn’s products and links to sample pages.   

Kathryn is available for private consultations as well as educational and training programs.

About Kathryn Kilpatrick

Kathryn Kilpatrick received her Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology in 1968 from the University of Massachusetts. She has worked in a variety of settings, primarily in Ohio, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and for decades in the area of home health care. Kathryn is president of Memory Fitness Matters (www.memoryfitnessmatters.com) and Communication Connection(www.connectionsincommunication.com). She offers memory coaching for all ages and has a geriatric consulting practice. She is a national motivational speaker and author of more than 30 products to enhance communication and connection as well as a Memory Fitness Toolkit. Kathryn brings her decades of experience as a speech-language pathologist to all those wanting to enhance their quality of life, particularly when there are communication, memory and cognitive challenges. Her websites offer information on a wide variety of topics related to elder care concerns as well as memory fitness and successful aging.
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