Clinical studies have shown that your memory begins to decline at about age 40. Memory loss could either be caused by:
- The normal aging process or age-related memory loss which is is a natural part of growing older – it is not a disease.
- Dementia or what we once knew as ‘senility’ is a health threatening condition or disease that requires diagnosis and treatment from qualified doctor/specialist.
It is therefore important to differentiate between memory loss caused by age and dementia (of which a common type is Alzheimer’s Disease).
AGED-RELATED MEMORY LOSS
Memory is the retention of information over time. Scientists divide memory into three parts where each part engraves a memory a little deeper in our recall system.
Here are some signs of people afflicted with age related memory loss according to the Alzheimer’s Association of America:
- Judgment problems: Choosing an outfit that turns out to be somewhat warm or cold for the weather. For example, neglecting to bring sweater when going for cold breezy morning walk.
- Abstract thinking difficulties: occasional difficulties balancing a chequebook accurately.
- Once a while misplacing objects like keys or a wallet
- Mood or behaviour changes: Changes in mood from doy to day.
- Memory loss at work: occasionally forgetting an assignment, deadline or colleague’s name.
- Difficulty with familiar tasks: occasional distractedness like for example, forgetting to serve a dish that was intended to be included in a meal.
- Language impairment: occasional difficulty finding the right word.
- Disorientafion: occasionally forgemng the day of the week.
- Moderate personality change as you age.
- Temporarily tired of social obligations or household chores.
These are signs of normal, healthy age-related decline which one need not have to worry.
ALZHEIMER’S TYPE DEMENTIA
As mentioned at the start of this article, dementia or what we once knew as ‘senility’ is a condition related to severe loss of memory and mental functions. It definitely is not part of the normal aging process. A common occurence of this type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Nearly 70% of all cases of true dementia are caused by Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease in which brain cells are gradually destroyed is truly a scary and awful disease. Where age-related normal memory loss is akin to forgetting your car keys once a while, for Alzheimer’s, it is more to forgotten that you have ever own a car!
People aged 65 and older are often affected by this disease. The disease is not curable but treatable. However, most people with Alzheimer’s disease often dies in about 8 to 10 years after being diagnose of this terrible disease.
Here are warning signs of people afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease:
- Moods or behavior changes – rapid, dramatic mood swings with no apparent reasons.
- Personality changes – dramatic and disturbing personality change. For example, what was once a patient and softspoken person is now becoming prone to frequent temper outburst.
- Disorientation – getting lost on the way to the store.
- Judgement problems – dressing blatantly and inappropriately, like wearing several layers of warm clothing on a hot sunny day.
- Abstract thinking difficulties: Inability to perform basic calculations, such as subtracting a change for $28 from a balance of $180.
- Reduced initiative – permanent loss of interest in many or social activities or chores.
- Memory loss at work – frequent forgetfulness and unexplainable confusion.
- Difficulty with familiar tasks such as always forgetting that we have already prepare a meal.
- Language impairment – frequent and severe difficulty finding in finding right word resulting in speech that does not make sense.
- Misplacing objects, like putting things in completely unrelated places – for example a watch in toilet bowl.