Dealing with Memory Loss
Everyone has dealt with memory loss at one point or another. Misplacing keys, forgetting where you parked your car, or forgetting faces or names of people you have met. But at what point does normal, everyday forgetfulness become a serious problem?
Memory loss can be caused by a variety of things, including aging, head injury, stroke, drug or alcohol abuse, and some memory loss diseases. In these cases, there may be some steps you can take to help protect yourself against memory loss, and even improve your short-term memory to make everyday tasks much easier for you and those around you. For instance, consider the following methods for mitigating short-term memory loss:
- Try to follow the same general routine each day.
- Keep a notebook with you that contains lists and notes to yourself about the day's tasks.
- Carry a calendar or day planner with you to help you remember dates and times for appointments.
- Always put the items you use most often, like keys, sunglasses, or dog leashes, in the same place every time.
- Leave yourself a "trail of bread crumbs" or a series of associations so that you remember things you're supposed to do. For instance, if you need to go to the grocery store in the morning, hang a plastic grocery bag on your bedroom door knob.
- Remember to focus on one task at a time, and not to try to handle too many things at once.
What is Normal Memory Loss?
As we age, we begin to gradually lose small amounts of brain cells . our tissue begins to breakdown, and as early as our 40s we begin to show signs of memory loss as the result of degenerating brain tissue. Memory loss is a part of the normal process of aging; however, there is a risk of normal memory loss turning into something more serious. Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and dementia are common with the aging population. Understanding what signs to look for that may be indicators of more serious memory problems is important. Some of the symptoms that you may want to be aware of that could may show there is a more serious memory problem occurring are:
- Repeating yourself within the same conversation
- Forgetting normal routine activities
- Inability to remember the names of those closest to you
- Forgetting significant portions of your past
- Difficulty making basic decisions or handling finances
All of these symptoms can be indicators that there may be a more serious condition present other than typical memory loss with age. If you feel that you or a loved one have any or all of these symptoms, then you should let your healthcare provider know your concerns immediately. The earlier your physician can catch a neurodegenerative disease, the more likely it is that it can be slowed down or controlled.