Memory loss often is a natural part of aging, but sometimes it indicates a more serious issue. In any case, when an older loved one starts to exhibit signs that he or she cannot remember things, it is essential to get him or her help.
The Mayo Clinic explains that some memory loss as you age is normal. However, it should not impact your life in a negative way. You should be able to continue living normally with only occasional memory lapses that do not get worse over time. It is common, for example, to lose your car keys or need to write something down to remember it.
Signs of something more serious
When memory loss starts to impact a person’s life, though, it becomes a more serious issue that requires medical care. You may notice your loved one is forgetting very important things, such as turning the stove off after using it or how to get home when he or she goes to the grocery store. These issues indicate that there is an underlying medical issue.
Dementia is due to a loss of functions in the brain that impact judgment, memory, language and thinking. You may notice this in a loved one if he or she starts having lapses that cause safety issues or create problems with his or her ability to function in a normal manner. Dementia will usually get worse over time.
It can point to a variety of medical issues. While it may be a sign of Alzheimer’s, it could also be due to a vitamin deficiency, a side effect of medication, a result of hypothyroidism, a side effect of a urinary tract infection or a symptom of an infection in the brain.
In any case, if you notice dementia in your loved one, you should get him or her to a doctor as soon as possible. Some of these underlying medical conditions are 100% treatable, and the memory issues will clear up upon treatment.