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How To Help Memory Loss In Old Age

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A Note About Unproven Treatments

Memory help: How to help prevent memory loss as you age

Some people are tempted by untried or unproven “cures” that claim to make the brain sharper or prevent dementia. Be cautious of pills, supplements, brain training computer games, or other products that promise to improve memory or prevent brain disorders. These might be unsafe, a waste of money, or both. They might even interfere with other medical treatments. Currently there is no drug or treatment that prevents Alzheimer’s or related dementias.

However, there are currently several drugs available by prescription to safely treat the symptoms of early and mid-stage Alzheimer’s. If you have been diagnosed with dementia, your doctor may suggest that you take one of them.

How to protect yourself and others from unproven treatments:

  • Beware if the product claim seems too promising and if it conflicts with what youve heard from your health care provider.
  • Question any product that claims to be a scientific breakthrough. Companies marketing these products often take advantage of people when they are most vulnerable and looking for a miracle cure.
  • Check with your doctor or health care professional before buying any product, including those labeled as dietary supplements, that promises to improve your memory or prevent dementia.
  • Report any products or supplements being advertised as a treatment for Alzheimer’s or other diseases on the U.S. Food and Drug Administrations website.

Infections Of The Brain Or Its Lining

Infections like HIV, tuberculosis and herpes can cause memory problems. HIV puts the function of nerve cells at risk by infecting the cells that protect and support them. The virus can also trigger inflammation that can damage the brain and cause forgetfulness. With tuberculosis, memory loss can be a complaint. However, prompt treatment can resolve these problems. Meanwhile, herpes simplex virus can cause a rare neurological disorder called herpes simplex encephalitis. This inflammation of the brain can lead to memory loss. Antiviral drugs may help if treatment is started right away.

Less Sitting More Moving

Results from a study done by the Center for Brain Health at The University of Texas at Dallas showed that seniors who engaged in physical activities such as using a stationary bike or treadmill for only 1 hour 3 times a week for twelve weeks resulted in higher resting blood flow to the brain. Improvements in mental health were seen in as few as 6 weeks as there was an increase in blood flow to areas of the brain associated with improved memory.

As a side note, physical exercise improves mood by supplying endorphins and improves appetite as well. It also may provide opportunities for social interaction which also improves memory.

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How You Can Help

  • Pictures and written descriptions can be useful records of things that have happened. Encourage the person to use a diary, journal or calendar to record events and conversations.
  • If the person repeats a question, it wont help to tell them that they have heard the information before. Give simple answers and repeat them as needed. You can also write the answer down so that the person has a note of it.
  • If the person cant remember whether they have done something or not, try to give context to your question and include prompts. For example, It must be a while since you ate breakfast, are you hungry? rather than Have you had breakfast?.
  • If the person does not remember a conversation you have had with them recently, keep in mind that this is not because they werent listening. If the conversation was important, it might be worth having it again.

Things The Doctor Should Do When Evaluating Cognitive Impairment In An Older Adult

Memory Loss

Here are ten specific things the clinician should ask about, check on, or do, as part of an initial evaluation for cognitive impairment in an older adult.

The following list reflects my own practice and that of most geriatricians. It is in line with most syntheses of guidelines and best practices, including the UpToDate.com chapter on this subject.

Most experts agree that these steps can be done by primary care clinicians.

1. Ask about and document the patients concerns about memory and thinking.

At a minimum, the clinician should ask an older person something like So, have you noticed any changes in your memory or thinking abilities?

Now, many older adults will either have noticed nothing or wont want to talk about it. This is in of itself worth noting, especially if family or others have voiced concerns.

If the older person does have concerns or observations, these should be explored. Its especially important to ask when the problems started, whether they seem to be getting worse, and how quickly things seem to be changing.

2. Obtain or request information on memory or thinking difficulties from family members or other informants.

Older adults with cognitive impairment are often unaware of or reluctant to reveal the difficulties they are experiencing. For this reason, a health provider who has been alerted to the possibility of cognitive impairment should make an effort to get information from a family member or other knowledgeable informant.

These include:

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Tip : Give Your Brain A Workout

Memory, like muscular strength, requires you to use it or lose it. The more you work out your brain, the better youll be able to process and remember information. But not all activities are equal. The best brain exercises break your routine and challenge you to use and develop new brain pathways.

How To Continually Improve Memory Power

A healthy, nutritious diet, getting regular exercise, sleeping well, stress management, and keeping your brain stimulated will enhance your memory power. Our daily habits can truly influence how well our brains work, including our memory function. They can also help stave off dementia, Alzheimers and other cognitive diseases. So, take the necessary steps weve outlined here to keep your brain activated which will in turn mean much more memory power.

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Memory Loss In Old Age Is Partial And Episodic

Written by Agencies | Published : June 6, 2015 5:16 PM IST

Scientists have debunked the belief that one loses memory as he/she ages. Researchers believe that although there is memory loss, it s partial as only the ability to recall specific facts declines with age.

‘In old age, deterioration appears in episodic memory but not in semantic memory,’ said study author Alaitz Aizpurua from University of the Basque Country in Spain. ‘Episodic memory preserves the facts of the past in our personal life, and it is more specific in terms of time and space: we can remember the last time we went to a restaurant, who we sat next to, what we ate…’ Aizpurua said.

Semantic memory is related to language, to the meaning of concepts and to repetitive facts. ‘This type of memory — semantic — and procedural memory are maintained whereas episodic memory in which detailed memories are retained is reduced,’ Aizpurua added. Procedural memory is the one to do with skills, the one we need to do things — to drive, for example.

What Are Some Signs And Symptoms Of Severe Memory Loss

Memory Loss and Old Age

The following may be signs of a more serious health problem that needs treatment:

  • Not knowing how to do something you used to do
  • Trouble learning new facts, or trouble learning skills that need you to remember steps
  • Trouble following directions, or getting lost, even in an area you know
  • Not remembering if you took your medicine or finished a task
  • Not being able to remember events from your past, such as a trip you took
  • Thinking events that happened years ago happened recently
  • Forgetting to bathe, brush your teeth, or do other daily care tasks
  • Not recognizing a family member or friend you have known a long time

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Four Key Elements Of A Good Brain

  • It teaches you something new. No matter how intellectually demanding the activity, if its something youre already good at, its not a good brain exercise. The activity needs to be something thats unfamiliar and out of your comfort zone. To strengthen the brain, you need to keep learning and developing new skills.
  • Its challenging. The best brain-boosting activities demand your full and close attention. Its not enough that you found the activity challenging at one point. It must still be something that requires mental effort. For example, learning to play a challenging new piece of music counts playing a difficult piece youve already memorized does not.
  • Its a skill you can build on. Look for activities that allow you to start at an easy level and work your way up as your skills improve always pushing the envelope so you continue to stretch your capabilities. When a previously difficult level starts to feel comfortable, that means its time to tackle the next level of performance.
  • Its rewarding. Rewards support the brains learning process. The more interested and engaged you are in the activity, the more likely youll continue doing it and the greater the benefits youll experience. So, choose activities that, while challenging, are still enjoyable and satisfying.
  • What about brain-training programs?

    Tip : Identify And Treat Health Problems

    Do you feel that your memory has taken an unexplainable dip? If so, there may be a health or lifestyle problem to blame.

    Its not just dementia or Alzheimers disease that causes memory loss. There are many diseases, mental health disorders, and medications that can interfere with memory:

    Heart disease and its risk factors. Cardiovascular disease and its risk factors, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure, have been linked to mild cognitive impairment.

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    Memory Loss Cause # 9 Brain Tumors

    Current studies reveal that over half of all cancer cells people display signs of memory loss that can be perplexed with dementia- 90% of these signs were related to verbal memory and exactly how rapidly the study individuals can bring up memories as well as address issues. Research study shows that chemotherapy can directly create cognitive problems, but it is extensively recognized that memory loss as well as cancer cells are both elaborate issues that a lot more most likely have a number of causes, instead than simply one medication.

    Some signs and symptoms of brain issues that show you require to visit a neurologist consist of:.

    Unexpected or extreme eyesight troubles, like double and also blurred vision.Seizures.Dizziness.Problem strolling and also talking.Unexpected dramatic changes in the senses, like scenting something that isnt there and listening to points .Unusual throwing up.

    Risk Factors And Protective Factors For Brain Ageing

    Signs and Symptoms of Serious Memory Loss In Old Age ...

    Research during the last decade found a major genetic risk for Alzheimer’s disease, the apolipoprotein E-4 allele. This allele has a dose related effect on increasing risk and lowering the age of onset of Alzheimer’s disease. A test of the apolipoprotein E genotype, either alone or in combination with other tests, is not considered a useful predictor of future cognitive decline in people without dementia.

    Studies of monozygotic twins show concordance rates of approximately 50% for Alzheimer’s disease, indicating that non-genetic factors contribute to development of the disease. While severe head trauma and lower educational achievement seem to increase the risk for Alzheimer’s disease, other factors may be protective. Unproved but possible protective factors include use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, postmenopausal oestrogen in women, anti-oxidant vitamins, and cholesterol-lowering statin drugs low fat diet and aerobic conditioning.

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    Preserving And Improving Memory As We Age

    Proven approaches include healthful habits and some do-it-yourself strategies.

    If you’re over 50, you’ve probably noticed some changes in your ability to remember things. Maybe you’ve gone into the kitchen and can’t remember why, or can’t recall a familiar name during a conversation. You may even miss an appointment because it slipped your mind. Memory lapses can occur at any age, but we tend to get more upset by them as we get older because we fear they’re a sign of dementia, or loss of intellectual function. Mostly, we fear Alzheimer’s disease. The fact is, when significant memory loss occurs among older people, it is not due to aging but to organic disorders, brain injury, or neurological illness.

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    Natural Ways To Improve Your Memory

    Everyone has moments of forgetfulness from time to time, especially when life gets busy.

    While this can be a completely normal occurrence, having a poor memory can be frustrating.

    Genetics plays a role in memory loss, especially in serious neurological conditions like Alzheimers disease. However, research has shown that diet and lifestyle have a major impact on memory too.

    Here are 14 evidence-based ways to improve your memory naturally.

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    Tobacco Alcohol And Drug Use

    Excessive alcohol use has long been recognized as a major cause of memory loss. Actually, smoking harms memory by decreasing the amount of oxygen that gets to the human brain. Many studies have discovered that people who smoke find it harder to put faces with names than do non-smokers. Illicit drugs could change those chemicals in the brain, making it hard to recall memories.

    Improving Memory At Old Age

    How to prevent memory loss in old age

    The short answer would be: if not caused by some sort of dementia-yes! Is it easy? No!

    The longer answer: Your memories of the days events are fortified during your sleep at night. A healthy normal good sleep is indispensable for building up your memories. Inadequate sleep is sometimes just a symptom of an underlying bigger problem. If you cant think of the reason of your poor sleep, you should visit the doctor.

    Otherwise, can an older person do something about it? The memory at an old age can not only be stopped from being lost but, on the contrary, it can be improved. It requires consistency, though-pretty much as exercising muscles-one or two occasions will not mean much. If you regularly feed your brain with new tasks, new challenges and lead a healthy life stile while doing so, it will thank you by keeping your memory fresh and easily accessible.

    There is a wide range of brainexercises you can do, lets mention just a few:

    • crosswords, Sudoku, Scrabble, even online, maybe here
    • serious, mind-challenging magazines, newspapers
    • books that can be an interesting reading, but make you think
    • puzzles, starting with fewer pieces and moving on to those of more, as you progress
    • playing chess, with a partner or online
    • bridge or other challenging card games, with friends or you can play online here
    • find a new interest, take a course of pottery, or woodcarving, painting, sewing

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    Normal Forgetfulness Vs Dementia

    For most people, occasional lapses in short-term memory are a normal part of the aging process, not a warning sign of serious mental deterioration or the onset of Alzheimers or another dementia.

    The following types of memory lapses are normal among older adults and generally are not considered warning signs of dementia:

    • Occasionally forgetting where you left things you use regularly, such as glasses or keys.
    • Forgetting names of acquaintances or blocking one memory with a similar one, such as calling a grandson by your sons name.
    • Occasionally forgetting an appointment or walking into a room and forgetting why you entered.
    • Becoming easily distracted or having trouble remembering what youve just read, or the details of a conversation.
    • Not quite being able to retrieve information you have on the tip of your tongue.

    How To Help Memory Loss In Old Age

    Forgetting where you put your glasses or keys is a common occurrence even in younger adults. But as we age, it seems that forgetfulness becomes more problematic and occurs more often. Still, few seniors understand what causes memory loss to begin with, and how can you tell if its something more serious. Understanding common memory loss is an important first step in determining if your forgetfulness might indicate a more serious condition. Now If you want to learn the number 1 cause for memory loss youll have to watch this video. It will shock you but once you fix it your memory will start to improve. Here are 12 potential causes for your memory loss which could answer your How To Help Memory Loss In Old Age Question.

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    Struggling To Recognise Faces

    As the persons dementia progresses, they may begin to have difficulty recognising familiar faces, including their own reflection. This can make the person feel as though there are intruders in their home for example, if they see their reflection in a mirror and dont recognise themselves, or dont recognise friends who have come to visit.

    People with dementia may also experience time-shifting. This is when the person believes that they are living at an earlier time in their life and that they are younger than they are now. They also expect the people around them to be younger as well. This can then lead to them mistaking younger relatives for people they know or used to know. For example, they may think that their child is their partner or that their brother or sister is their parent.

    In the same way, when the person is time-shifted, they may not recognise their children. This could be because they dont believe that they are old enough to have children, especially adult children.

    Not recognising familiar people can be distressing for both the person with dementia and those around them. It is important to try not to take it personally.

    Even if the person doesnt seem to recognise those most familiar to them, they will still have an emotional attachment to those people and will still feel close to them. For example, they may not recognise that you are their child or partner, but they will know that you are a person who makes them feel safe or happy.

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