When to ask for help with memory loss

Some forgetfulness is common throughout a person's life. When you are stressed or very busy, you might forget a few things, and can improve that situation with organization. However, the forgetfulness that comes with aging can be very different, according to the National Institutes of Health. It's important to remember senior memory loss takes many forms, some more serious than others. As we age, our bodies change, including our brains. If you have problems like taking a little longer to learn more information or losing your car keys in the morning, this is usually just a sign of aging generally, and no reason to be concerned.

There are other reasons you might notice some issues with your memory beyond getting older. Emotional distress can make you forgetful. If you have high levels of stress, an anxiety problem or depression, you might experience memory issues. Dealing with life changes can also bring on confusion and forgetfulness. This is usually temporary, and improving your emotional state through asking for help from friends, family and senior mental health specialists can help you function more normally. There are also medical conditions a doctor can treat that can cause forgetfulness, like vitamin B12 deficiency and thyroid disorders. If your memory loss lasts for a long time and you find yourself forgetting important things, you may want to visit your doctor to see whether it can be treated.

When is it serious?
Seniors must be aware of the signs of serious problems with memory like cognitive impairment and dementia. These can only be diagnosed by a doctor, but there are some signs to look for. Amnestic mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, brings more memory problems than aging itself, like misplacing items often, forgetting important dates and having trouble finding words. Friends and family often notice these signs. MCI symptoms are not dementia, and they are troubling to manage but do not mean you can't live a normal life.

Dementia seriously impacts your ability to do daily activities, however. It's not its own disease, but a condition that is caused by other issues like Alzheimer's, according to the NIH. Signs of dementia include asking the same question or telling the same story over and over, as well as getting lost in familiar places and confused about time, people and places. Dementia can cause people to neglect themselves to a dangerous degree. Dementia can be treated, so if you're concerned about your memory you should see a doctor.

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