Memory loss is not exclusive to the aging generations, and neither is it something that even the healthiest of us can avoid. Unless we are discussing eidetic memory, the information in all our brains is being lost, replaced, and distorted almost continuously. This is the reason why we cannot recall with any degree of assurance exactly what we ate for dinner three months before on an unmemorable Wednesday.
As we age, this inability to recall things properly from memory alone increases further in its effect and intensity, which is also to be expected. However, age-related memory loss is a gradual process, and it will never happen rapidly without an underlying cause. This brings us to the first worrying sign of abnormal memory loss in seniors and we will start with that next.
Loss of Memory at an Abnormally High Speed
The first and the most prominent sign of abnormal memory loss in seniors is the abrupt speed of degradation. We all tend to lose some of our ability to memorize and recall information with age, but it happens gradually. In case there is an underlying cause such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or a minor cerebral stroke, for example, memory loss will happen at an abnormally accelerated pace.
If someone seems to be losing their memory too fast, then seeking immediate medical advice is of the utmost importance. Such signs should not be ignored and disregarded as a natural sign of aging in seniors. The misconception that age alone is sufficient to cause significant and rapid memory loss in seniors originated from the fact that older generations were always more susceptible to Alzheimer’s, strokes, and other neurodegenerative diseases. If anything, that susceptibility is what makes immediate action so important.
Post diagnosis of the underlying cause, further action may also be necessary, but that will vary, depending on what the diagnosis is. If Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or any other neurodegenerative condition is indeed confirmed, then the person should not be living alone. For residents of Creve Coeur, Missouri, Parc Provence offers customized memory care programs in their Victorian style assisted living facilities.
Loss of Navigational Memory
Anyone can get lost in an unknown city, but they should not get lost in their own, well-known neighborhood. If it is happening then know that natural aging has very little to do with such degrees of memory loss, even in exceptionally aged individuals. Conditions such as strokes, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease, on the other hand, are well documented to have such effects on our cognitive functions. These conditions can make patients lose their ability to navigate through known areas and in latter stages, even their own home.
Loss of Essential Memory
Essential memory is information that’s quite literally hardcoded into our genes which includes but is not limited to involuntary actions such as our ability to smell or the beating of our heart. It’s information that we must be able to recall just to continue surviving. Under normal circumstances, age does not interfere with essential memories to any significant degree.
Unfortunately, diseases such as Alzheimer’s can make us forget how to swallow, smell, or even breathe. In the disease’s early stages, this may lead to frequent respiratory issues, sleep apnea, dysphagia, and temporary loss of smell, but it will inevitably deteriorate if ignored. Alzheimer’s cannot be cured or stopped, but it can be slowed down and managed with timely intervention.