Everyone forgets things from time to time. As we get older, age-related memory loss is normal. However, memory loss that disrupts daily life may be a sign of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and should not be ignored. If you or a loved one is experiencing memory problems that are disrupting daily life, talk to your doctor.
But how can you tell if it’s typical age-related memory loss or early signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease? Below are a few signs of memory loss that may indicate you need to schedule an appointment with your doctor.
1. Asking the Same Question Repeatedly
Common signs of memory loss include forgetting information you just learned, important dates, and events. This translates into asking the same questions over and over. If your loved one keeps asking you a question you have previously answered many times, it may point to something more than typical memory loss due to age.
They may forget names or appointments. They may ask how to get to a place they’ve driven or walked to for years, and now they can’t remember where it is. Or maybe they ask how to prepare a simple meal they have made many times. Familiarize yourself with the questions they ask and how often they repeat them. If they increasingly need to rely on memory aids, it may be time to visit a doctor.
2. Getting Lost
Getting lost is normal. However, getting lost while driving or walking to an area you are familiar with is less common. If your aging parent is struggling to drive to a location they’ve gone to for years or can’t remember how to get home, it could be an early sign of dementia. It’s important to get a prompt diagnosis.
3. Sudden Changes in Mood or Behavior
Irritation due to interruption of routine may increase with age. While this can be a typical change due to aging, if an individual seems to have a sudden change in mood or personality for no apparent reason, it may point to Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Ask yourself: Do they become easily upset? Are they suddenly fearful, anxious, or suspicious? Someone living with Alzheimer’s can experience personality changes, so seeking help from a doctor can you help understand why your loved one is acting the way they are.
If you notice these signs of memory loss in yourself or a loved one, get evaluated by a doctor. Early detection matters and treatment may be available.
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