Forgetfulness and memory loss in elderly: Causes and treatment

By: Mohan Garikiparithi | Brain Function | Monday, October 31, 2016 - 01:30 PM

forgetfulness and memory loss in the elderlyForgetfulness and memory loss are commonly seen in the elderly, but these symptoms are not necessarily part of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, there are many reasons for forgetfulness in memory loss in the elderly due to various causes aside from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Which means, you can improve your memory loss and forgetfulness as you age.

It is very possible to remain alert and attentive through aging. Your brain is capable of producing new cells in order to maintain healthy thinking and memory. But for that, seniors must work on improving their brain function – as the saying goes, ‘use it or lose it.’

Causes of memory loss and forgetfulness in seniors

Changes in the brain that occur through aging can contribute to memory loss and forgetfulness. These changes can result in minor changes to memory such as forgetting where one put their keys or taking longer to recall a person’s name. These minor changes are normal, memory loss isn’t severe, and seniors can very well perform on cognitive tests as long as they have additional time for completion.

Memory loss can also be a side effect of some medications. Seniors are more likely to take medications with forgetfulness and memory loss as side effects.

Memory loss can also be a sign or a result of a B12 deficiency, chronic alcoholism, tumors or infections of the brain, blood clots in the brain, kidney or liver disorders, or thyroid disorders.

Emotional problems, such as chronic stress, depression, and anxiety can contribute to memory loss and forgetfulness, too. When forgetfulness or memory loss is brought on by emotions, it can be temporary and resolve when the mental state improves.

As you can see, there are many treatable causes for forgetfulness or memory loss among seniors, so it’s important that you see a doctor to rule out any of these conditions and receive the appropriate treatment.

Treatment options for memory loss and forgetfulness in the elderly

Good night’s sleep reduces risk of colds and infections: StudyIf you suspect your memory loss may be tied to another underlying issue, you can see your doctor and get tested for some of these other potential problems. For example, your doctor can check your thyroid function, evaluate your mental health, or look at your prescriptions to see if forgetfulness is a listed side effect.

What your doctor uncovers will be the basis for your treatment, such as switching prescriptions or treating a kidney or liver disease. You may be required to take antidepressants or seek out therapy in order to overcome chronic stress or anxiety.

Memory can be boosted through natural means, too. For example, adhering to a healthy diet and exercising regularly have been shown to improve brain function. Here’s what else you can do to improve your memory naturally:

Sleep: Sleep helps the brain think more creatively and improves the memory. All that we learned throughout the day becomes categorized while we are asleep, so that we can recall it later on. If you don’t sleep well, your recalling ability is reduced. Ensure you are sleeping well each night or else you could become quite forgetful.

Challenge yourself: Just because you’re older doesn’t mean there aren’t new things to learn. By frequently learning new concepts or testing your memory, you are working to improve it.

Fight infection: Did you know the bacteria H.pylori can damage your brain? It’s true. Even though H.pylori is commonly associated with the digestive system, there is more and more research to suggest it can affect the brain, too.

Although antibiotics can treat H.pylori, the bacteria are becoming resistant to this mode of treatment. To avoid developing antibiotic resistance, try natural antibiotics for less severe cases. Cranberry juice, oregano oil, honey, and garlic are all natural antibiotics. Incorporating these into your diet can help fight off the infection.

Do something new: Switch up your commute, try a new food, or even watch a different TV show. Anything you do that is new will spark new brain cells, helping improve memory.

Reduce stress: Stress is harmful for overall health, and it can deplete energy from the brain. Chronic stress has been linked to gradual memory loss because the constant release of stress hormones decreases your brain’s ability to use glucose for energy. Find helpful ways to reduce stress like exercise or meditation, and if it is too much to handle on your own, consult with a therapist.

Stretch muscles and ride a bike: Studies have shown spending time stretching your muscles and bike riding can improve memory. If you’re not into cycling, exercise in general has been shown to boost brain power as well.

Don’t overeat: Research has shown that overeating can double your risk of memory loss, so really pay attention to your portions.

By incorporating these memory-boosting tricks into your daily life, you can help improve your memory and have a clear mind for years to come.


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Related Reading:

Tips to prevent age-related memory loss and enhance cognitive function in elderly

Memory loss after stroke: Causes, symptoms, and remedies

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/guide/forgetfulness-not-always-what-you-think
https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/forgetfulness
https://www.caring.com/articles/8-causes-memory-loss-not-alzheimers?page=3

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