By Kathy Fratrick, LCSW, Shell Point Retirement Community
For the majority of us, occasional memory lapses like the following are just an indication of the normal aging process and not warning signs of serious mental impairment or the onset of dementia: Occasionally walking into a room and forgetting why you did. Memory lapses can throw you for a loop, but don't let them freak you out. They're actually pretty normal. Here are seven potential reasons why they occur. Yet sudden and severe memory loss – such as forgetting your children's names or not knowing where you are - can signal a more serious problem. Memory loss can be a sign of Alzheimer's disease. The Brain Health and Wellness SMA is for adults of any age who are concerned about occasional memory lapses. Or those with a family history of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and want to be proactive about their brain health. Occasional memory lapses may be due to stress. Small memory lapses are a normal part of aging. He apparently did not find any current health condition that would contribute to your memory.
A key concern of older adults is the experience of memory loss, especially as it is one of the hallmark symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. However, memory loss is qualitatively different in normal aging from the kind of memory loss associated with a dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Memory Lapses Meaning
With age, almost everyone will experience decreased efficiency of memory. It is when memory loss becomes so pervasive and severe that it disrupts your hobbies, social activities, and family relationships, that you may be experiencing the warning signs of a disorder that causes dementia or a condition that mimics dementia.
Occasional Memory Lapses Confusion And Agitation
|Normal age-related memory changes||Symptoms that may indicate dementia|
|Able to function independently and pursue normal activities (bill paying, managing medications, cooking, driving), despite occasional memory lapses.||Difficulty performing simple tasks ( cooking, working the TV remote, daily living tasks), or forgetting how to do things you’ve done many times.|
|Able to recall and describe incidents of forgetfulness. “You remember that you forget.”||Unable to recall or describe specific instances where memory loss caused problems. “You forget that you forget.”|
|May pause to remember directions, but doesn’t get lost in familiar places.||Gets lost or disoriented even in familiar places; unable to follow directions.|
|Occasional difficulty finding the right word, but no trouble holding a conversation.||Words are frequently forgotten, misused, or garbled. Repeats phrases and stories in same conversation.|
|Judgment and decision-making ability the same as always.||Trouble making choices and may show poor judgment or behave in socially inappropriate ways.|
Occasional Memory Lapses
The key factors to managing memory disorders are early detection and identification of and implementation of memory management strategies. Consider therapeutic services or behavioral health services which could assist with the identification of a memory condition and facilitate the development of an appropriate treatment plan. And as always, talk to your primary care physician if you have concerns about your memory.