It is common for you to forget where you put your spectacles or the car keys. Memory lapses are common occurrences associated with the aging process. You may experience frustration, lack of self-worth, and independence when such memory lapses start disrupting your daily life. This problem is called Age-Associated Memory Impairment and attacks short-term memory loss rather than long-term memory loss. Long-term memory loss can be a scarier thought as this can bring on thoughts of Alzheimer’s. So, how do you know what is normal memory loss and what is not?
Why do we Lose our Memory?
The brain’s ability to recall events and recognize things is referred to as memory. Memory is stored in the pathways of the brain through neurons. Memory loss occurs when there is damage to the neurons. Dementia is the most common symptom of memory loss and can occur due to a myriad of reasons. These can be due to medications, metabolic problems, endocrine abnormalities etc. Although until recently, memory loss was associated as a common sign of aging, recent research suggests there is more to it than just age. However, the identification of the precise cause of memory loss is still in infancy and this means, there is no medication or cure for stopping memory loss.
What is “Normal” Memory Loss?
Occasional lapses in memory are considered a normal part of aging, for most people, and are not a sign of serious mental deterioration. The below instances are considered “normal” memory lapses and are not a warning sign of dementia.
- • Forgetting where your keys and spectacles are,
- • Forgetting someone’s name,
- • Forgetting an occasional appointment,
- • Becoming easily distracted
- • Not being able to say things that are “on the tip of your tongue”.
- • Walking into a room and forgetting why you are there in the first place
If you have “normal” memory lapses, you will still be able to function well in your normal day-to-day life. The fact that you cannot remember things will not disable you. It will not disrupt your work, social activities, hobbies, or relationships with family members.
Reversible Causes of Memory Lapses
As mentioned above, there are other causes of memory loss other than Alzheimer’s and dementia. For example, you could be on certain prescription or over-the-counter medication that may disrupt your thought processes. Changing these meds – with the advice of a medical professional of course! – can reduce memory lapses. Some common drugs that affect your memory include sleeping pills, antihistamines, anti-anxiety medications, blood pressure, arthritis medications, etc. Depression can also cause lapses in memory and prevents concentration. If you feel depressed and suffer from memory loss, speak with your doctor. Vitamin B12 deficiency can also affect the healthy function of the brain. This commonly affects older people. Your ability to absorb nutrition slows down with the aging process and this affects your vitamin B12 absorption. If this is so, you may be able to consider alternative solutions where you can get your nutrition and vitamin B12 via a monthly injection. Thyroid problems and dehydration can also affect how your memory works. Speak with your doctor about these problems if you find yourself forgetting things.
The best methods of preventing memory loss and cognitive decline are through exercise, eating a balanced diet, managing stress, getting plenty of rest, and staying social. Your health will definitely improve if you move into an active adult community. Here, you can ensure daily exercise, plenty of rest and relaxation, and friends to hang out with. Visit ActiveAdultLiving.com for more information on how you can find active adult communities across the US and Canada. The information comes to you absolutely free, and you will be amazed at the wealth of information in this website and the Active Adult Living blog.
Join the AAL Newsletter
Get the best content in your inbox every Monday morning. Stay up to date with the latest featured communities and updates.