You might feel like time is running out for you, that you are slowing up. After all you are not as young as you used to be and you feel yourself slipping a little more everyday. You might find yourself asking whether Alzheimer's is actually starting to take it's place on the stage on your life. Or could it simply be the effects of old age?
As you get older, chances are you’ll sometimes forget a word, where you left your car keys, or the name of a neighbor you bumped into at the market.
It can help to:
*Write yourself notes.
*Place your keys in the same place each day.
*Play word games or do crossword puzzles.
Because loss of memory is also a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease, you might worry that these lapses are a sign of something more serious. Alzheimer’s, which affects some 5 million Americans, most of them over 65, and is irreversible.
Other Causes of Memory Loss
In most cases, there’s no great cause for worry. Just because you lose your keys or forget someone’s name doesn’t mean you have Alzheimer’s. You could have memory loss due to the normal aging process.
to memory loss include:
- Medication side effects
- Alcohol abuse
- Not enough vitamin B12 or a low thyroid level
- Stress and worry of any kind, such as from the death of a spouse or loved one, or from retirement
Memory Loss: What’s Normal?
One symptom of more serious memory loss is that you’re not aware there’s a problem. Family members might seem more worried than you are. If loved ones are talking to you about your memory, take their concerns to heart and see a doctor.
Here’s a checklist for what’s normal, along with causes for concern.
Normal: You forget daily appointments but remember them later.
Cause for concern: You ask friends and family for details over and over again, or need them to do tasks that you used to do yourself.
Normal: You make a mistake balancing your checkbook.
Cause for concern: You have trouble planning or solving problems that used to be easy. It’s hard to do things that involve numbers, like follow a recipe or pay monthly bills.
Normal: You need help once in a while with the microwave settings or a TV remote.
Cause for concern: You can’t work the stove or drive to a familiar spot.
Normal: You forget what day of the week it is but remember later.
Cause for concern: You find yourself in a place and don’t know how you got there.
Normal: You have age-related vision changes. You get a cataract, for instance.
Cause for concern: You have problems with distance, color, or perception. You pass a mirror and don’t know your own reflection.
Normal: You can’t find the right word immediately.
Cause for concern: You call things by the wrong names. You stop in the middle of a sentence and have no idea what you were saying.
Get Help & Find Support
These are all good things to look for but overall please remember that you don’t have to solve this puzzle alone. Include your doctor, friends and loved ones on this journey with you so that you can feel supported in what can be a complicated journey of searching for answers.
There are also many natural supplements that help people improve their memory and cognitive functions. I have two that I would recommend both are meant to promote brain health and memory cognition.
Along with taking natural supplements, try not to get discouraged. You might be approaching the end of your life but that is no reason why you should stop living. Keep your mind engaged and yourself involved with the world around you as much as possible. Here are some ideas that can keep you going. Please feel free to add to this list with your own activities:
1.Find a group in your community that has regular ping-pong matches.
This is a fun, light and positive activity that keeps your mind and body actively engaged. At the same time it doesn't require too much exertion. There is just something special about this game that promotes smiles, light-hearted and positive interactions from all participants.
2.Find a weekly group that plays board games.
Mexican train Dominoes, Chinese Checkers, Chess, Uno you name it and it's on the table - so to speak!
3. Include music in your life as much as possible, especially classical.
Music has a special magic of it's own. It's been proven to connect or re-connect neural pathways in the brain like nothing else can. This helps patients with Alzheimer's maintain or even improve their cognitive memories. So attend classical concerts, sign up to learn how to play a musical instrument or just get together with some friends to listen to old songs together. If the mood is right, feel free to even get up and move to the beat and get those endorphins pumping.
4. Find a walking or hiking group.
There is something about getting out in the open that enlivens the soul. Breathing in the fresh air helps get more oxygen to your tired mind and brings buried thoughts and fond memories back to life. Getting with a group helps keep each other in check, and makes for a safer and more uplifting experience for all.
5. Join a book group.
Keeping your mind intellectually and emotionally active is very effective when experiencing the symptoms of Alzheimer's. You might be to the point that you don't remember everything that you've read in the latest book, but that's ok. Book groups usually use the plot and characters in the book as a platform to discuss life in general. Many an intellectual or philosophical discussion has emerged from a good group of people gathering together to discuss a book.