Senior Living: When to know when memory loss is normal or a sign of dementia » Redding Record Searchlight

Medical professionals classify diseases and disorders according to stages. There is such a classification for dementia called the Global Deterioration Scale for Dementia that runs from Stage 1 (no symptoms present) to the final Stage 7, where the brain loses the ability to tell the body what to do.

In a recent training program we held for our staff on the various stages, we were struck by a finding in the description of Stage 2. The stage is characterized by forgetting names and losing familiar objects.

No one knows for sure that there are memory problems. The person uses strategies to compensate for memory loss such as making lists and setting up other systems of reminders.

Oh, no! Does this hit close to home? How many of us use computer programs to pop up reminders of appointments and tasks we need to complete on a certain day? Do you keep your medications and vitamins in containers with the names of the days? Do you have to make a to-do list or a shopping list when you go to the grocery store? Have you ever misplaced your reading glasses or keys?

The good news is that the Global Deterioration Scale for Dementia includes a further description of Stage 2: “This stage would be similar to how a normal adult would function under high stress or fatigue.” Well, that is a relief. We would venture to guess that adults are frequently fatigued and under high stress from dealing with their family, job and own personal issues.

Dementia is a growing disease among our elderly population. Most of us know someone who has dementia or is dealing with a loved one afflicted by the disease. It is scary to think about the possibility that is could happen to you. So it is natural to be concerned when you can’t recall a name or misplace something important.

There is a difference between forgetfulness and memory loss. You probably forgot to do things and misplaced your stuff when you were younger and didn’t worry about it. Your brain is largest in your 20s and after that you slowly lose brain cells and make fewer chemicals that help your brain cells work. As you get older, it may be hard to tell whether moments of forgetfulness are normal and simply inconvenient, or the start of something more serious.

When forgetfulness becomes consistent and produces strange things, it may be time to talk to your doctor. Here are some examples:

Losing your keys is OK. Finding your keys and not knowing their function is not.

Putting your hairbrush in the second drawer of your vanity instead of the top drawer is OK. Putting your hairbrush in the freezer is not.

Getting lost in a new town or place is OK. Getting lost in your own neighborhood is not.

Forgetting the name of an acquaintance you rarely see is OK. Forgetting the name of one your children is not.

Your doctor can do an assessment and involve specialists to make an informed diagnosis. Senior Living is written by Dr. Arlen Burger, Mary Burger and Dave Besana, management team of A Brand New Day Assisted Living. Please write seniors@abrandnewday-redding.com or call 223-1538.

via Senior Living: When to know when memory loss is normal or a sign of dementia » Redding Record Searchlight.

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About Saleem Mohammed
PROFESSIONAL PROFILE: I have substantial experience in Healthcare Marketing and PR, Human Resources Management, Medical Staffing, Outsourcing & Backroom Office Establishment and Management, Healthcare Account Management, and Multimedia Marketing. My recruitment experience covers nurses, therapists and other allied healthcare workers that are sourced all over US and overseas. As BDO, I brought a start-up company to its highest revenue mark, expanded its menu of services, designed & streamlined HR procedures and built effective cost-cutting measures. SPECIALTIES include, but is not limited to: Healthcare Marketing, Human Resources Management, Medical Staffing, Staffing Coordinator, Healthcare Recruitment, Account Management, Business Development, Healthcare Sales and Pricing Strategy, HR Training & Development, Career Coaching

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