Are you worried about the memory of someone you care for?
Concerned his or her forgetfulness may mean something more serious?
You’re not alone!
When minor these changes can occur with aging.
More severe symptoms — often called age dementia symptoms — are not considered a normal part of aging. They can be due to Alzheimer’s Disease, other forms of dementia, medications, alcohol and some medical conditions like vitamin B12 deficiency.
Edna had confusion, fatigue and loss of interest in her usual activities.
After considering several possible causes of Edna’s symptoms her doctor diagnosed Vitamin B12 deficiency.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is not the only medical condition causing symptoms of dementia . . .
What are some other causes of age related dementia symptoms?
- Depression. Depression can be associated with age dementia symptoms. It can also be an early sign of some forms of dementia.
- Dehydration. Confusion can be associated with dehydration.
Even if it’s not unusually hot or dry, seniors may be at risk for dehydration.
They may not get thirsty, placing them at risk for dehydration. And some of their medications may increase their risk.
- Head injuries. Sometimes when an elderly person falls, they have a head injury. The symptoms may be subtle, including signs of dementia or a stroke.
Plus, the symptoms may not develop immediately — making it harder to recognize a fall as the cause.
- Stroke. There’s a medical condition called multi-infarct dementia. It’s a condition occurring after multiple strokes.
Sometimes the strokes are small, and may even go unnoticed.
Multi-infarct dementia can cause age dementia symptoms — although often it’s in someone who has a history of strokes or is at risk.
- Insomnia. Lack of sleep or interrupted sleep can cause confusion and other symptoms of dementia.
There are other causes of dementia symptoms a doctor may also consider.
How do you tell what causes age dementia symptoms?
A medical evaluation by a doctor or other health care professional is the best way to tell. The evaluation may include an exam and possibly tests to determine the cause.
What are some ways to help someone with memory issues?
- Having patiencewith yourself and the person affected.
Ever see a deer caught in your car’s headlights?
The deer freezes, unable to move.
Someone with memory challenges or even just fatigue may feel like the deer. Her brain seems to freeze and panic may soon follow.
Calmly giving her time to work through the situation often helps. You may also be able to gently prompt her with the answer, or ask a question in a different way.
Sometimes distracting her also helps her refocus on something she knows. And either come back later to the problem or forget it for now . . .
- Keeping lists. For some people keeping lists helps them keep track of things.
Sometimes using different colored pens or pencils can help make the list easier to read for someone whose eyesight is no longer 20/20. Gel pens in particular are often easy to see. You might also want to try a wider point.
- Following a routine. It’s easier to remember a schedule that’s regular and repeatable.
And often comforting to have a consistent routine.
Because a varying schedule can be frustrating and even scary to someone with memory problems.
- Keeping active with crafts, crossword puzzles or logic puzzles. Studies show that crafts like knitting and puzzles help keep your mind sharp and can help your memory.
- Keeping your sense of humor. One way to relieve stress fast is to laugh. Not at the person but with them!
Laughter can make a situation less stressful and makes getting through the day easier!
Do you know . . .?
Biofeedback monitors your response to stress (often your heart and blood pressure) so you can be aware of subtle changes.
And you can use the information to adjust your response to stress.
Checking your blood pressure and pulse are a good start.
It’s often not practical to carry your own blood pressure cuff around. And in a crowd people may look at you funny if you check your pulse too often.
Heart Math is a solution using today’s technology to inconspicuously use biofeedback to adjust your response to stress.
Keep knitting to your heart’s delight — or someone else’s,
Ina Gilmore M.D. (ret.)
“The Knitting Dr.”
Ambassador of Elder Care, HowToLiveOnPurpose.com
Founder, CaregivingWithPurpose.com and TheKnittingYarn.com
The information on this website is for educational purposes only. It does not replace information or recommendations from your own physician or other health care provider. This site does not advocate medical or other health-related self-care, and encourages you to obtain advice from your own personal physician or other health care provider.
This web site is not intended to replace medical, financial, legal, or any other professional advice. Please use your own good judgment and consult with your own professionals before applying any ideas found within this website.