As you age, you may experience what is jokingly referred to as a “senior moment” when trying to remember why you entered a room or where you left your keys. These moments are fairly common, but how do you know if your forgetfulness is the result of natural aging or Alzheimer’s?
Almost 40 percent of people over the age of 65 experience some form of memory loss without having any medical condition associated with it. This process is known as Age-Associated Memory Impairment. This condition is considered to be part of the natural aging process.
According to Alz.org, (Alzheimer’s Association) many things change as we age. Our bodies and brain’s slow down and we are less physically and mentally flexible. We may take more time to process information and experience some memory loss causing us to be forgetful of people places and things as we age.
Some signs of a naturally aging mind are:
- Experiencing some memory loss, but being able to provide considerable detail when explaining the episode
- Maintaining memory for important events, appointments and conversations
- Occasional difficulty in finding words
- Normal performance on mental status exams
Independent living and being able to conduct day to day activities and maintain interpersonal skills is also a reminder that you are aging naturally. As you age, it is beneficial to keep your mind sharp by remaining active, exercising, playing games that challenge your mind to think such as crossword puzzles or chess.
Conversely, Alzheimer’s disease is also associated with memory loss. This disease can affect people who are advanced in age or who are younger than the age of 65. When early on-set occurs, the disease is referred to as either younger-onset or early onset Alzheimer’s. Forgetfulness due to Alzheimer’s is not a part of the natural aging process.
Some symptoms and signs of Alzheimer’s are:
- Personality or mood changes
- Difficulty making decisions
- Misplacing items on a regular basis
- Withdrawing from social situations
- Difficulty finding the right words for specific items
- Difficulty finishing a sentence
- Losing tract of locations, dates or times
- Asking for the same information again and again
- Difficulty learning new things
If you are experiencing symptoms or displaying signs of the disease on an ongoing basis, it is recommended that you consult a physician who specializes in treating Alzheimer’s. In order to diagnose the disease, the physician may complete a comprehensive medical evaluation which can include cognitive tests, brain imaging, neurological and medical exams.
Early detection of Alzheimer’s disease can maximize the benefits received from treatment and may help you to maintain your independence longer. Therefore, it is highly advised that you seek the assistance of a specialist immediately.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.