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