With so many things going on in our daily lives, it is normal to forget things. Everyone forgets things. How many times have you misplaced something? How many times have you put something in a safe place and forgot where the safe place was at? Forgetfulness tends to increase with age, but there is a big difference between normal memory loss and the type of memory loss associated with a medical condition Normal that is age-related does not prevent you from living a happy, healthy, and productive life. You just need more time to remember a name or the task you had set out to do. You are aware that you’re forgetful and may even crack a joke about it and laugh with your friends about being forgetful.
- Taking too much of a medication (overmedication). Overuse of medications may be the single biggest cause of memory loss or confusion in older adults.
- Alcohol and medication interactions: This is a problem, especially for older adults, who may take many medications at the same time.
- Misusing or abusing a medication or alcohol.
- Drug intoxication or the effects of withdrawal
- A head injury
- Decreased or blocked blood flow to the brain.
- A seizure disorder
- Brain tumors
Memory loss that begins suddenly or that significantly interferes with your ability to function in daily life may indicate a more serious problem. Dementia is a slow decline in memory, problem-solving ability, learning ability, and judgment that may occur over several weeks to several months. Many health conditions can cause dementia or symptoms similar to dementia. In some cases, dementia may be reversible. This is the most common cause of dementia in people older than age 65.
Dirium is a sudden change in how well a person’s brain is working (mental status). Delirium can cause confusion, disruption of the sleep-wake cycles, and unusual behavior. Delirium can have many causes, such as withdrawal from alcohol or drugs or medications, or the development or worsening of an infection or other health problem. Amnesia is memory loss that may be caused by a head injury, a stroke, substance abuse, or a severe emotional event, such as combat or a motor vehicle accident.
Depending upon the cause, amnesia may be either temporary or permanent. Treatment As you get older, it is normal to experience some memory loss. Usually, an occasional memory loss does not mean you have a serious problem or medical condition. Some treatments include:
- Focus your attention. Often forgetfulness may indicate that you have too much on your mind. Slow down and pay full attention to what you are doing.
- Establish a routine
- Helpful technologies as reminders, such as a cell phone’s components.
- Write your daily activities on a daily planner, and keep it in a place where you can see it easily.
- Store easy-to-lose items in the same place each time after you use them.
- To remember a person’s name, repeat it several times after being introduced to it.
- To recall numbers, group them and then relate them to a date or story. For example, if your personal identification number (PIN) is 2040, remember it with the phrase “20 plus 20 equals 40.” Use the same PIN number for all of your accounts.
- Retrace your steps if you cannot remember why you went into a room.
- Reduce your stress. Being anxious can impair your memory.
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Don’t smoke
- Play stimulating mind games
- Seek treatment for depression
- Check with your doctor to see if any medications you are taking is causing the memory loss
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