How to Recognize Early Memory Loss

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DSC02646 (Photo credit: Jacob & Kiki Hantla)

Starting to recognize uncharacteristic memory loss can be confusing and even terrifying, and often loved ones are embarrassed to mention it.

Memory loss that becomes a pattern and not an occasional isolated event may be of concern.  The misplacement of keys or getting to the supermarket only to forget what you came for is normal, unless you feel it is happening more frequently or in different ways than it used to.

If you are unsure whether your loved one is having early memory loss, here are 5 signs to look for and discuss with their health care professional:

  1. Confusion or difficulty in completing familiar tasks or following directions such as recipes or driving directions.
  2. Repetition of stories or forgetting significant life events when they talk about them.
  3. Rationalization of memory loss as a normal part of aging can indicate denial about a more serious problem.
  4. Decrease in judgment such as putting themselves in dangerous situations or being careless with money.
  5. Uncharacteristic changes in personality or mood.  True, our personalities change as we age, but people with memory loss or dementia tend to show sudden changes such as hostility, anger, confusion or sadness.

Contributed by Premier HomeCare Services

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3 Responses to How to Recognize Early Memory Loss

  1. Suzanne says:

    If those 5 signs are recognized, what are some next steps to take to address it?

    • askdrjames says:

      Hi Suzanne, great question. A recent study, published in the American Academy of Neurology, found that people who eat a diet rich in Omega-3 may significantly lower their risk of developing memory problems and Alzheimer’s disease. If you decide to take omega 3, make sure the quality of the omega 3 is good. One way is to look up the source of the omega 3. If the source is from food source that is high in the food chain, it may contain more mercury level as well. Secondly, you should also look for a cognitive program in your neighbourhood. In Toronto, Premier HomeCare provides Active Minds cognitive therapy program which helps elderly with mood, memory and communication. http://www.premieretobicoke.com

      • Suzanne says:

        You’ve been most helpful. Thank you Dr. Fung.
        I’ll forward the information over to someone I know who is having difficulties.

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