My father in his early nineties is staying with me for the last 28 years. I have been observing the decline in his cognitive abilities with age. He is forgetting things off and on with time, more so in the last two to three years. I was worried – if it is age-related or setting up of dementia or Alzheimer’s? I researched it and found certain facts, which I thought of sharing with all of you.
Before proceeding further, let me remind you that I am participating in Blogchatter’s A2Z challenge, where I shall be writing a post daily on my blog. I have opted to write about the issues of senior citizens. I shall be discussing the forgetfulness in seniors in today’s post.
As people age, the changes occur in all parts of the body. The brain also undergoes changes. As a result, some people may observe that it takes them longer to understand new things and recall information they already knew. Very often we see elders at home searching for their glasses or keys. These are usually cases of mild forgetfulness and not serious memory problems.
The following table will help you to differentiate between the symptoms.
|Normal Aging||Alzheimer Disease|
|Making a bad or incorrect decision once in a while.||Make poor judgement and wrong decisions most of the time.|
|Missing a monthly bill payment.||Unable to take care of his monthly bills.|
|Forgetting the day and date but remembering it later.||Losing track of the day, date, or time of year.|
|Forgetting words sometimes in a conversation.||Difficulty in making a conversation for want of correct word to use.|
|Losing things from time to time.||Misplacing things often and unable to find them.|
Some medical conditions like tumours, blood clots or infections in the brain, kidney, or liver disorders do cause serious memory problems. Vitamins and minerals deficiency, side effects of some medicines, head injury, etc can also affect memory. As soon as the medical condition is treated successfully, the memory issues are solved.
Many times, it has been observed that stress, anxiety, or depression also make a person more forgetful. This may be mistaken as dementia. For example, a recent retiree or someone grieving over the loss of a spouse, or someone close or who might be lonely worried, or bored may show signs of forgetfulness. These are life-changing issues and leave many people confused and forgetful. The forgetfulness or confusion caused by emotions is usually temporary and goes away with time as feelings fade. Support from family and friends plays a very important role in overcoming these emotional issues. If they go for more than two months or so, it is always advisable to consult a doctor or counselor.
Tips for dealing with forgetfulness
I am sharing some tips to help elders keep forgetfulness at bay.
- Follow a daily routine.
- Make a list of the chores to be done. Plan ahead using memory tools such as calendars and write notes. Google calendar and the notes feature in every smartphone will be handy.
- Fix a place for your wallet or purse, keys, phone, and glasses, and keep them there every day.
- Be involved in activities that involve both the mind and body.
- Learn a new skill.
- Do volunteering in your community, at a school, or at your place of worship.
- Spend time with friends and family.
- Sleep is important. Go for at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
- Exercise and eat well.
- Don’t drink a lot of alcohol.
- Get help if you feel depressed for weeks at a time.
- Early detection and diagnosis will go a long way in treating the condition.