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Why You Should Pay Attention to Early Signs of Memory Loss

Posted on 
July 17, 2023

Everyone loses their keys or misses an appointment from time to time. But when is a memory lapse something more? When is forgetting what you were going to say or confusing dates and times something to pay attention to?

While most Americans say they would want to know if they have Alzheimer’s disease (90 percent), more than half of people aged 45 and older do not talk to their physician about their concerns and fears, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This is troubling, given the importance of early diagnosis for Alzheimer’s.

The earlier that Alzheimer’s and other dementias are diagnosed, the better treatment you can receive. Having more time to plan also benefits the person with cognitive decline and their family members.

How do you know if you should talk to a doctor?

Of course, you should talk to your doctor any time about any concerns related to dementia or Alzheimer’s, even if you just want to discuss risk factors. But you definitely should seek medical care if you are experiencing the following:

  • Frequent memory issues that are interrupting life. This is not the occasional forgetfulness related to aging or being busy, but forgetting important dates or needing others to help with things you used to handle on your own.
  • Difficulty following directions or working with numbers. Whether it’s a familiar recipe or paying monthly bills, cognitive decline can make these routine tasks much more difficult.
  • Losing track off time. You may not understand the timing of appointments and that causes confusion or you may forget where you are or how you got there.
  • Trouble following conversations. You may forget words, stop mid-sentence or repeat yourself. You might also make changes in your social life to avoid these difficulties and become more withdrawn.
  • Difficulty with decision-making. This may be especially apparent with money or in scheduling time for grooming and personal care.

While today’s diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease depends greatly on discovering these signs of mental decline, more testing is on the horizon. There is promising research using biomarkers and brain imaging.  

Can brain exercises help?

Taking preventative measures such as exercising, getting a good night’s sleep and eating a healthy diet is important, you may also benefit from brain exercises as you age. A study by The Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) is often cited to support brain training for older people. While the evidence is still being evaluated, doing puzzles, learning new skills, playing music and taking lessons certainly can’t hurt and can often improve the quality of your life. Similarly, creating community and having a strong network of friends and family can also be beneficial to your heart and mind. 

Support when you need it

At Falcons Landing, we believe in providing the support you need when you need it. We’re proud to announce our new stand-alone Memory Care Assisted Living community, Hillside House. Offering 18 private rooms dedicated to seniors living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related diseases, Hillside House provides elegant and modern accommodations, as well as outstanding care.

Hillside House joins The Johnson Center and West Falls Center in providing 24-hour care for any community member. Hillside House is now offering tours and accepting applications for our wait list.  

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