“I can never remember her name. Oh, no! Could this be Alzheimer’s?”
“I don’t recall losing my keys so often in my 50’s. Could I have dementia?”
As seniors age, they tend to be on the lookout for signs of dementia. And, while it’s important to be diligent in taking stock of potential Alzheimer’s signs, not every memory slip is a major dysfunction of the brain. There are plenty of reasons why people, young and old alike, have trouble remembering simple details. Here are a few reasons why you may have memory loss that is not connected to Alzheimer’s disease.
When a person is under high levels of stress, a myriad of hormones are released to help them cope. One of those hormones, cortisol, is great for keeping us alert and quick in dangerous situations. However, it also inhibits new neural connections from being formed. That means that the areas of the brain used for memory are not making those crucial connections consistently during stressful situations. Stress also leads to lack of sleep, another cause of forgetfulness. But, the good news is that once the stressor has been removed, you’ll return to making those memories just as you did before the crisis.
It’s very common for older adults to be on one or more prescriptions. Unfortunately, it’s also common for certain prescriptions to slow down the memory-making area of the brain. Just like stress, certain medications can slow the formation of certain connections, leading to unusual forgetfulness. This is especially so when two incompatible medications are taken together – something that happens all too often for seniors. If memory troubles began shortly after a new medication was begun, speak to your doctor or pharmacist to get the problem straightened out.
2. Heart Disease.
A recent study uncovered an unexpected cause of memory failure – heart disease risk. Men and women who were at a higher risk for heart disease, including elevated cholesterol and blood pressure levels, were more likely to have higher-than-average cognitive decline. This news is another good reason to keep your cardiovascular system healthy to keep the brain strong.
So the next time you go to the grocery store and then can’t remember the items on your list, or you forget your friend’s name once again, check to see what else is happening in your life before you begin to suspect the worst. Talk to your doctor if the memory loss is a reoccurring issue.
Freedom Home Care can help seniors who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or other memory loss. We provide a variety of in-home services to seniors from basic care, pet care, medication, arthritis care, and more. If you or someone you know could benefit from our specialized services, call us at 708-433-5788 for more information.