We all forget things. I’ve been known to forget where I put my glasses, only to find them on my head. This is normal. As we age, we tend to get a little more forgetful, but not so much that we’re unaware of the problem. It’s annoying, but a fact of life.
The problems start when someone denies they are forgetting things. That is one of the first signs of a major memory problem. Unfortunately, if you fit into this category, you probably won’t know it.
There are some simple signs to watch out for. Whether you are wondering if you have a problem or you are dealing with someone who might, here’s what to watch for:
Repeating the same question: This is one of the hardest to deal with. If someone tells you that’s the fifteenth time you’ve asked that same question, it’s likely that you will be angry. For you, it’s still the first. However, if more than one person says this to you, you may have a problem
Repeating the same story: Like repeating questions, this is a sign of memory loss. Yes, to you it’s the first time. To your audience it’s been told far more often. This is a frequent occurrence when dealing with serious memory loss.
Not remembering a conversation: This can be selective memory rather than a sign of serious memory problems. However, it can be dangerous and if it’s paired with other things, it can show the pattern. This can also cause serious relationship issues. Forgetting that you’ve been invited somewhere and then accusing those who actually did invite you of making the conversation up is painful for both you and the innocent party.
Forgetting to eat: If your doctor is concerned because of rapid weight loss, it might not be a disease. It may be that you’ve forgotten to eat. You may have a similar problem with medications. If this occurs, it could be deadly. Some medications are too strong to be taken more frequently than prescribed. If you forget you’ve already taken it and take another dose, you are serious risk of overdose.
There are several possible causes for memory problems. Some may be resolved by medication. In fact, some are caused by medication, so a change in it could be highly beneficial. Some causes, such as mini strokes and Alzheimer’s disease may mean permanent memory loss. This is the hardest to deal with.
If you are dealing with memory loss that can’t be reversed, there will probably be changes in your life. You probably won’t like them. However, they aren’t because people are mad at you or want to “put you away.” It’s for your health and safety.
Many times, all that’s needed is in home care. Someone living with you that can help you remember which medicines to take when, make sure you eat and help with all the things that need done around the house. Usually, that’s a relative though sometimes it’s necessary to call in skilled nursing.
Some conditions may mean either assisted living or a skilled nursing facility. If you need round the clock care, these are more appropriate. If you should fall or need immediate medical help, this is where you can get the best care.
There are things that can be done if you have memory problems. As I’ve mentioned, there are medications that can be very useful. There are also things you can do. Crossword or word search puzzles are often very helpful here. So is learning a new craft or relearning an old one. Anything that makes the brain work can help.
It is very difficult to accept that a memory problem exists. It’s embarrassing and may seem highly offensive if someone suggests it. Instead of instant rejection, perhaps what needs done is for you to listen to what they are saying. Once you agree that action needs to take place, then your family and/or doctor can see to it that you get what you need to maintain quality of life.