Do you sometimes misplace your keys or eyeglasses? Forget someone’s name momentarily? Occasionally search for a word or phrase that is on the tip of your tongue?
As we age, slight changes in our intellect begin to occur. Simple forgetfulness, or so-called “senior moments,” like those mentioned above are all a part of the aging process.
We also can see a modest decline in spontaneous word finding. While vocabulary remains unchanged, the speed of information processing gradually begins to slow down with age.
Additionally, learning something new and being able to recall it takes longer as we grow older.
However, signs for concern include:
- Frequently misplacing such things as keys
- Not knowing the name of objects or their purpose
- Forgetting names and places (without later recalling them)
- Great difficulty in using the right words
- Becoming lost in familiar surroundings
- Grappling with conversational practices and losing the ability to comprehend what is being said to him or her and responding logically
Aging also affects planning, problem-solving, and decision-making skills.
Most aging adults tend to have slower reaction times and are less able to multitask on projects.
Sometimes as we get older, simple mistakes or errors in judgment or accounting practices are made. Changes due to dementia could result in more serious issues, such as getting very confused and disoriented when making plans and having great difficulty with concentration. Additionally, he or she or their families could experience disastrous outcomes when making financial decisions or assessing risks or even have trouble keeping track of monthly bills.
Keep in mind that more than 50 conditions can cause or mimic the symptoms of dementia. In many cases, symptoms usually subside when the underlying problem is treated, such as a thyroid condition or a B12 vitamin deficiency.
Additionally, dementialike symptoms can result from certain drugs, including antidepressants, antihistamines, Parkinson drugs, anti-anxiety medications, cardiovascular drugs, anticonvulsants, corticosteroids, narcotics and sedatives.
In other words, when memory loss prevents someone from performing daily tasks and accustomed roles in life, further evaluation should be done by a physician.
When visiting a physician, have an open discussion about cognitive concerns and undergo a complete evaluation before making any conclusions.
Though memory deficits occur in the normal aging process, it is important to keep the brain healthy and active by being socially engaged, remaining physically active, adopting a healthy diet and participating in games and activities that are mentally stimulating.