Many seniors may be affected by age-related memory problems and Alzheimer’s Disease. Seniors may be ashamed or frightened of their memory problems and believe that they are an inevitable part of aging. However, the assumption that old age and memory problems go hand-in-hand is inaccurate. Many memory problems are not inevitable and are not part of the natural aging process. Some elderly adults are able to maintain their memory throughout old age.
Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of Dementia, a condition characterised by confusion, memory loss, and disorientation. Although it arises mostly when a person ages, it is not a normal part of aging. It is widely thought to be a genetic condition, although lifestyle factors can influence its onset and severity.
Alzheimer’s Disease causes some of the brain cells to die, particularly those in the part of the brain that controls memory. It is, however, not limited to memory problems as it can also spread to affect intellectual, emotional, and behavioural abilities.
Other memory problems
Seniors may become forgetful, disoriented, or confused because they have developed conditions that imitate Dementia or Alzheimer’s. This is sometimes referred to as “reversible dementia”, and can be caused by a number of factors including:
- Poor diet
- Side effects from prescription drugs
- Drug interactions or overdoses
- Physical or mental problems
The types of dementia can often be reversed, as their causes can be diagnosed, managed and treated. It is important that a health professional take a thorough medical evaluation to assess whether a senior really has dementia, or rather has a condition that mimics dementia.
How can you avoid memory problems?
There is, unfortunately, no quick fix for ensuring freedom from memory problems. To help prevent and decrease the risk of developing memory problems you can:
- Avoid stress
- Eat healthily
- Lead an active lifestyle – such as maintain a regular physical activity routine
- Remain mentally engaged – such as learning something new, practicing crossword puzzles
- Maintain a strong sense of self-efficacy – remember that you are in control of your life and your future (this will also lower stress levels)
- Speak to a counsellor or find a psychologist if you are having difficulties finding someone to help you
Although Alzheimer’s is said to have a strong genetic component, these lifestyle changes may help to delay its onset and help manage symptoms.
Article By: Vision Counselling and Psychology, Perth, Western Australia
Web Address: www.visioncounselling.com.au
Published: 18/08/16 “Seniors”, (American Psychiatric Association), Available: http://www.psychiatry.org/mental-health/people/seniors (Accessed: 2014, December 04).
“10 Facts about Memory”, Kendra Cherry (About Education), Available: http://psychology.about.com/od/memory/ss/ten-facts-about-memory_11.htm#step-heading (Accessed: 2014, December 04). Image Reference: Dollar Photo Club