Senior Memory Loss: Signs & Prevention

General Steward Health Care

To find a doctor or schedule an appointment, visit Steward DoctorFinder™.

Your loved one has been forgetting things lately – an appointment, where he or she placed their keys, or even a friend’s name. Are these memory lapses a sign of normal aging? September is recognized as World Alzheimer’s Month. Some 4.5 million Americans suffer from the disease, which affects parts of the brain that control memory and language; however, occasional forgetfulness doesn’t always mean someone has Alzheimer’s. If it happens regularly though, it could be cause for concern.

We sat down for a Q&A with Karen Tripp, RN, LMT, complementary therapy and behavioral health nurse at Morton Hospital, to learn more.

oldpeopleWhat are some common warning signs of potential memory loss?

With normal aging there can be a decline in brain function with some memory loss. In the case of a brain disease such as Alzheimer’s disease, the loss is progressive. Forgetting or misplacing your keys is considered normal memory loss. Forgetting where to sign a check, on the other hand, is considered abnormal.

Is Alzheimer’s disease the same as dementia?

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia and is considered “primary dementia” because it does not result from any other disease.

Are memory loss and dementia preventable?

There are different forms of dementia. Some are reversible and others are progressive. This is why it is important to seek medical attention if one is experiencing mental status or behavioral changes. It is important to rule out other conditions that may cause similar symptoms, such as stroke, depression, or medication issues.

rubicscubeWhat are the best ways to keep my mind healthy?

Stay active mentally and physically. Take care of your physical needs: doctors’ appointments, medication and physical activity. And just as important is taking care of your mental needs: engage in hobbies, activities and interests (music, painting, adult coloring, simple household tasks, visiting gardens or museums, reading the newspaper, word searches, puzzles, etc.).

What’s the best way to help a parent or loved one who may be experiencing symptoms of memory loss or dementia?

Educate yourself. There are many resources on the Internet, local support groups, and available books. Take care of yourself, use a calm and supportive approach, and ask for help.

For more information about common signs and symptoms of memory loss and dementia, join Karen for “Understanding Memory Loss, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease” on Tuesday, October 4th at 5 pm at Morton Hospital. This “Senior Supper” program is free and open to the community. To register, call Steward DoctorFinder at 800-488-5959.

Learn more about behavioral health services at Morton Hospital.

To find a doctor or schedule an appointment, visit Steward DoctorFinder™.