Memory loss is in the news again lately, with the announcement by Hollywood actor Chris Hemingsworth, otherwise known as “Thor” in the Marvel Universe, that he will take a break from acting to spend more time with his family. The announcement comes after Chris received results of genetic testing that revealed he has a particular hereditary gene combination that makes him 8 to 10 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Chris wasn’t entirely surprised as his father already suffers from the disease.
Despite the news, Chris is determined to stay in shape and avail himself of all the knowledge medical science has to offer, with regard to preventing or postponing the disease. It’s a stark reminder that many things contribute to cognitive impairment and that aging is not always the cause of an impaired memory.
It may be time to gain a better understanding of memory loss disorders, especially, if you have a senior loved one who is contemplating the move into a professional memory care facility. Our advanced memory care team in Morris County has put together some important things to understand about the causes, signs and ways to avoid memory loss.
Memory disorder causes
A general decline in cognitive and neural function as we get older is normal. This is because as the brain ages, it produces fewer neurotransmitters. Also, the hippocampus which aids in the memory process, also begins to deteriorate over time. These changes in the aging brain are very gradual, so we may not notice we’re having problems with memory or our ability to think until much later in life. However, aging is not always the cause of impaired memory.
Memory disorders and memory loss can also be triggered by high blood pressure, sleep deprivation, nutritional deficiencies, thyroid problems, substance abuse, medication, head injury, stroke, depression and stress. The good news is that a memory disorder caused by these factors can be remediated and the symptoms managed until memory function is almost fully restored.
Signs of Memory Loss
It’s important to be aware of the most common signs of memory loss in your loved one, especially as they often cause complications to their daily routines. If your loved one is frequently experiencing a number of the signs listed below, please don’t hesitate to have them professionally evaluated and diagnosed.
- Asking the same questions repeatedly
- Forgetting the common name for an object while in conversation
- Mixing up easy identifying words, for example your loved one referring to the refrigerator when they really mean the garage
- Placing items in the wrong places, for example, putting milk in a dresser
- Getting lost in a familiar place
- Having severe mood swings or easy irritability
Aside from the symptoms above, if dementia or Alzheimer’s disease runs in your loved one’s family, your loved one should absolutely get genetic testing done like Chris Hemsworth. Until experts find and develop a cure to memory loss, it is highly recommended time and time again to receive a diagnosis as early as possible. This helps significantly when it comes to developing a treatment plan that can help minimize or keep away unfavorable symptoms and enhance your loved one’s quality of life with memory loss for as long as possible.
Avoiding memory disorders
Being mindful of these particular triggers can help you avoid or restore memory loss that stems from these factors. For example:
- Getting enough sleep
- Eating a well-rounded diet
- Keeping active both physically and mentally
- Seeking proper treatment for a thyroid condition or blood pressure issues
- Finding healthy ways to manage stress or depression
- Keeping tobacco, drug, and alcohol use in check.
However, for age-related memory loss that is not related to the factors noted above, there is unfortunately no cure at the moment. If your loved one’s memory lapses go beyond the occasional misplaced item or forgotten word and interfere with their ability to work, live independently, or maintain relationships, that memory disorder could be detrimental to their safety.
Professional Memory Care in Morris County
At Lester Senior Living, we put safety and individualized care at the forefront of everything we do. Our dedicated memory caregivers understand that memory disorders—like the seniors who suffer from them—are all unique. This is why our Memory Care Suite provides an individualized approach to each residents’ memory care, based on the Comfort Matters® philosophy of holistic dementia care. Our memory care providers focus on each resident’s particular needs at all times, to help them foster more meaningful connections with family and friends. With this care method in place, along with dementia-safe living spaces, each memory care resident can experience a better quality of life here at Lester Senior Living.