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Understanding the “Senior Moment”

By Mary-Frances Walsh, 9:00 am on

Everyone has a “senior moment” from time to time when a minor memory lapse leads to a forgotten name or misplaced memory. However, these little blips in a person’s recall can be troublesome for seniors or adult children who provide home care for an elderly parent and may worry that it indicates a more serious concern such as Alzheimer’s. While most of these lapses are perfectly normal, seniors and their loved ones can be reassured by understanding why they occur and how to differentiate them from more serious conditions.

Common Causes of Normal Memory Lapses

Forgetfulness is more likely to occur when a senior is stressed, fatigued, or has had a change in health. Side effects due to a new medication could also be the culprit behind foggy thinking. Vitamin deficiencies, such as B12, have been linked to memory lapses as well. Often, seniors experience a simple moment of absentmindedness such as placing their keys in a different location while they are busy putting away groceries that causes them to forget where they are later. As long as these moments are brief and occur infrequently, there is usually no cause for concern.

Signs of Serious Memory Loss

When true memory loss occurs, seniors and their live-in or part-time caregiver may notice that it interferes with daily living. For example, a senior may chronically forget to take his or her medication and suffer ill health as a result. Traffic accidents, getting lost in familiar places, or experiencing confusion after a recent event could all indicate a more serious problem is developing. As a general rule, true memory loss will continue to progress in a pattern that should alert loved ones and physicians that further observation and testing are necessary.

Preventing Senior Moments

One of the best ways to avoid having one of those senior moments is to simply take care of one’s health. Adequate rest and proper nutrition go a long way toward providing the brain with the fuel it needs to think and retain information. Practicing mindfulness can also reduce instances of misplaced objects, and journaling can help seniors remember names and events as they occur. Finally, seniors should remember to engage their brain daily by socializing and enjoying hobbies and games that help to build connections that are critical for maintaining memory and cognitive health.

Are your aging relative’s little memory lapses causing big concern for his or her safety? Turn to Home Care Assistance. We offer hourly, live-in, and comprehensive stroke, Parkinson’s, dementia, and Alzheimer’s care Sonoma families rely on when their loved ones need additional support at home. Our caregivers can help with everyday tasks like cooking and transportation, provide 24/7 safety monitoring, and offer companionship and mental stimulation. For more information, call (707) 843.4368 and request a complimentary in-home consultation.