Common Causes of Memory Loss in the Elderly

Common Causes of Memory Loss in the Elderly

As we get older, it is not unusual for our cognitive skills to decline gradually. Memories might start to fade, there is a slowing down of the motor function in the cerebellum, and a natural decrease of physical agility and strength. The truth is that at some point, this happens to everybody from time to time, with most people living through situations where they’ve forgotten about an appointment or blanked somebody’s name. Aging can be frustrating, but most of the symptoms mentioned here are not a huge cause for concern. Occasional lapses in memory are normal for most people as they get older and are not always a sign of conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. Some reversible causes of memory loss in the elderly include:

Depression or Anxiety

Along with all the challenges that come with getting older, seniors are also more likely to suffer from mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety. This is often due to the increase loneliness and isolation that often happens as people get older. Mental health issues can impact a person’s ability to maintain focus and process information, which can lead to memory loss. However, depression and anxiety can also be symptoms of more serious conditions such as dementia, in which case it may be worth seeking help from memory care St Louis County.

Medication

Some medications or combinations of medications that older people may be prescribed for various reasons could have confusion or memory loss as side effects. In fact, cognitive impairment is a very common side effect of lots of prescription medications. If you are concerned for an older relative or friend who is experiencing memory loss, then it might be worth looking at the medication that they are taking and encouraging them to speak to a doctor or pharmacist about alternative options.

Poor Sleep Habits

Sleep deprivation can result in problems with focusing, learning, and making decisions according to some experts. This is because when we are sleeping deeply, the hippocampus will filter out unnecessary information and transfer newly-made memories to storage in the prefrontal cortex. This process is interrupted when we don’t get enough sleep, which can lead to us being more forgetful.

Alcohol

Alcohol can impact the brain in many different ways, and when drank in moderation, it’s likely to make us feel good and not impact our cognition. However, excessive or heavy drinking can lead to cognitive impairments including slow motor function, memory loss, and a loss of decision-making skills. The symptoms can become even more severe if alcohol is mixed with certain medications.

Lack of Exercise

Seniors often don’t get enough exercise, which can impact the brain. Exercise isn’t just good for your body – there are several studies that show it can improve memory and critical thinking. One study of brain health from the University of Maryland found that just one session of exercise increases activation of memory brain circuits in older adults.

While many people might immediately think about serious conditions like dementia when you mention memory loss in older people, the truth is that memory loss in the elderly is common and can be caused by various lifestyle factors.