Do you write out a shopping list and then forget to take the list to the store with you? Do you forget where you parked your car? Do you forget what you went into the garage to get?
This type of forgetfulness can happen at any age for many different reasons, but as we get older we tend to fear “the big A” – Alzheimer’s disease.
As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been working with people with memory loss disorders for the past 15 years, I have seen firsthand that there are many treatable and reversible causes of memory loss. If you start to experience changes in your memory, or if you are the loved one of someone who is becoming forgetful, I urge you to consider a thorough evaluation by a neurologist or at a memory disorder center.
It is important to determine the cause of memory loss. Many conditions can mimic Alzheimer’s, such as depression, thyroid problems, vitamin deficiencies, stroke, and chronic alcoholism to name just a few.
While Alzheimer’s is always dementia, dementia is not always Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease is more than just memory loss, but it does start with problems with short term memory.
Do you remember what you did last night? Do you remember what you had for breakfast this morning? Long term memory can remain intact for a long period of time: “I remember my first car. It was a Studebaker, the best car around!”
How Do You Distinguish Between Alzheimer’s and Forgetfulness?
Someone with Alzheimer’s is not just forgetful. They may no longer be able to accomplish basic tasks such as dressing or cooking. They may start making errors with their checking accounts. They may get lost on a trip to the local grocery store. They may set the dishtowel on fire and not know how to put the fire out.
Language problems, impaired judgment, and impulsive behaviors can also be indicators that “something” is going on.
Contact Care Options for Kids for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Home Care Services
Alzheimer’s is not a disease that plagues only the elderly. We are seeing more and more people diagnosed before age 60. It is important that you pursue the correct avenues to get to the cause of the problem. Don’t jump to conclusions that it is Alzheimer’s disease, but on the same note, don’t assume it isn’t. If you are dealing with Alzheimer’s, the sooner you start on the medications, the better.