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On February 17, 2013, Posted by , In Caregivers, By ,, , With Comments Off on Caregivers in Macomb, MI

Memory Loss and Aging

We’ve all misplaced keys, blanked on an acquaintance’s name, or forgotten a phone number. But because memory loss is not an inevitable part of the aging process it’s important to distinguish between what’s  normal when it comes to memory loss and when you should be concerned? The first step to staying mentally sharp as you age is to understand the difference between normal forgetfulness that may be due to stress or other factors and serious memory problems. Normal forgetfulness vs. dementia

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

Normal age-related forgetfulness

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

  • 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 son’s name.
  • Occasionally forgetting an appointment.
  • Having trouble remembering what you’ve just read, or the details of a conversation.
  • Walking into a room and forgetting why you entered.
  • Becoming easily distracted.
  • Not quite being able to retrieve information you have “on the tip of your tongue.”

Does your memory loss affect your ability to function?

The primary difference between age-related memory loss and dementia is that the former isn’t disabling. The memory lapses have little impact on your daily performance and ability to do what you want to do.

When memory loss becomes so pervasive and severe that it disrupts your work, hobbies, social activities, and family relationships, you may be experiencing the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease, or another disorder that causes dementia, or a condition that mimics dementia.

Preventing memory loss and cognitive decline

The same practices that contribute to healthy aging and physical vitality also contribute to healthy memory.

  • Exercise regularly. Regular exercise boosts brain growth factors and encourages the development of new brain cells. Exercise also reduces the risk for disorders that lead to memory loss, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Exercise also makes a huge difference in managing stress and alleviating anxiety and depression—all of which leads to a healthier brain.
  • Stay social. People who don’t have social contact with family and friends are at higher risk for memory problems than people who have strong social ties. Social interaction helps brain function in several ways: it often involves activities that challenge the mind, and it helps ward off stress and depression. So join a book club, reconnect with old friends, or visit the local senior center. Being with other people will help keep you sharp!
  • Watch what you eat. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and drink green tea as these foods contain antioxidants in abundance, which can keep your brain cells from “rusting.” Foods rich in omega-3 fats (such as salmon, tuna, trout, walnuts, and flaxseed) are particularly good for your brain and memory. Eating too many calories, though, can increase your risk of developing memory loss or cognitive impairment. Also avoid saturated and trans fats, which can help your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of stroke.
  • Manage stress.Cortisol, the stress hormone, damages the brain over time and can lead to memory problems. But even before that happens, stress causes memory difficulties in the moment. When you’re stressed out, you’re more likely to suffer memory lapses and have trouble learning and concentrating.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Sleep is necessary for memory consolidation, the process of forming and storing new memories so you can retrieve them later. Sleep deprivation also reduces the growth of new neurons in the hippocampus and causes problems with memory, concentration, and decision-making. It can even lead to depression—another memory killer.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking heightens the risk of vascular disorders that can cause stroke and constrict arteries that deliver oxygen to the brain.

Source:  http://www.helpguide.org

Contact Pure Home Care Services at (586) 293-2457 today!  If you live in Macomb or the surrounding area, we can help you care for your loved ones.

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