• Is it Time to Talk to Your Doctor About Memory Loss?

    Is it Time to Talk to Your Doctor About Memory Loss?

We’ve all walked down the wrong aisle of a parking lot looking for our car or misplaced our keys. This is normal and not usually anything to worry about beyond the inconvenience. However, forgetting that we have a car is certainly a cause for concern. And for seniors, these forgetful episodes — that we all have — can be especially frightening. They can be a sign of mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, or related dementia. But how do you tell when it is time to talk to your doctor about your memory loss?

Why You Should Talk to Your Doctor About Memory Loss

If you are experiencing forgetful episodes, it is very important for you to visit your doctor. Not all memory problems are permanent, degenerative, or even abnormal. Talking to your doctor can help you identify alternative causes. If you do have a degenerative condition, the earlier it is detected the more time there is to determine the level of severity as well as what to do about it. You and your doctor can develop a treatment plan. Regardless of what is causing memory loss and confusion, you need to know about the condition no matter what it is.

Normal Forgetfulness

Memory changes occur in most people as we get older and is perfectly normal, if not a little annoying. Here are some normal memory problems that may pop up a little more frequently the older we get.

  • Occasional trouble making decisions/poor decision making.
  • Missing a monthly payment or bill once in a while.
  • Forgetting what day it is, but remembering later (i.e., thinking it’s Friday only to remember its Thursday).
  • Sometimes forgetting a word or using the wrong word.
  • Misplacing items like keys or shoes and finding them in an odd place.

When to Talk to Your Doctor About Memory Loss

If you are experiencing memory loss or frequent confusion, you should make an appointment with your doctor if you have experienced any of the following:

  • Difficulty communicating or finding the right words. 
  • Getting lost in familiar areas.
  • Difficulty performing regular daily tasks.
  • Asking the same questions repeatedly.
  • Putting items in places where they do not belong.
  • Mixing up unrelated words (word salad).
  • Taking significantly longer to complete familiar tasks.
  • Difficulty remembering names of family members.
  • Not recognizing close friends and family members.
  • Increased anxiety, depression, or aggression.
  • Difficulties in planning or problem-solving.

What to Ask Your Doctor 

You’ve made the appointment, so now what? It helps to know ahead of time what you want to ask your doctor. This can help you take control of an otherwise stressful situation and be an active agent in your own life, rather than fretting about bad news. 

  • Ask your doctor what tests they plan on performing?
  • What do these tests require of you?
  • In what timeframe should these tests occur?
  • How long will it take for you to receive your results?

Asking these questions will help prepare you for the road ahead, especially in regards to your emotions. Asking these tough questions isn’t easy, but keep in mind taking action will combat a limited future. If your doctor is seeing some abnormalities on the test results that may be a reason for further testing.

If there is an abnormality on your test and you do require further testing just know that this is preventative for limiting your future.

Preventing Memory Loss

We all know the best way to manage a problem is to prevent it from happening. Two of the best ways to prevent memory loss is through stress management and diet.

  • Stress Management for Memory.
    • According to the National Library of Medicine, our stress levels affect an individual’s cognitive function, especially memory and recall. Managing stress is a healthy and natural way of keeping our minds and bodies healthy. To our full article on the connection between memory and stress, click here.
  • Diet for Memory.
    • We get the nutrients we need from the foods we eat and those nutrients can greatly affect our cognitive health. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is a type of cholesterol that can raise your blood pressure by causing plaque buildup in your bloodstream. Diets high in LDLs are attributed to memory loss and the first stages of dementia later in life. To read more on this topic, click here.

Want to learn more scientific tips and tricks about aging well? Here is your FREE A-Z guide on Living and Aging the Way You Want. Click the icon and get your copy today!

Twin Towers is a continuing care retirement community in Cincinnati, Ohio, offering patio homes, apartments, rehab services and more. For more information, contact Twin Towers online or at 513-853-2000.