Is It Dementia?

My mom has suddenly lost her memory!

I’m so concerned.  What can it be?

ForgetfulSenior-MovingForwardIncIn our many years helping seniors relocate and downsize with ease, we have learned quite a bit about the issues facing our clients.

One piece of good news we’ve learned is that if an elderly person suddenly loses their memory or starts acting strangely, it is almost never Alzheimer’s, a form of dementia.

A defining characteristic of dementia is that it comes on very slowly.  Therefore, a sudden change in behavior is probably caused by something else and is likely correctable.

What could cause the memory loss?

  1. The most likely cause, and fortunately the easiest to cure, is a simple urinary tract infection (UTI).   The effects of a UTI can be startling.  When the infection is cleared, the recovery can be just as dramatic.
  2. SeniorTakingMedication-MovingForwardIncThe behavior change may also be due to a drug interaction.  Just changing your loved one’s medications can fix the problem completely.  See their doctor to ensure there are no medications which react badly with other combinations.
  3. Changing the batteries in hearing aids could positively affect their behavior.  Sometimes they are just not hearing the world around them and can react based on this lack of information.
  4. Even a slow loss of concentration might be fixable.  One of my clients, Lois (not her real name), bumped her head a couple of days before she was scheduled to move.  A brain scan revealed there had been bleeding inside her skull for quite some time, probably due to an earlier fall.  This may have been a factor in her hitting her head in the first place.  With surgery to relieve the pressure, Lois regained her memory within just a couple months.

So, if you are noticing a deterioration of memory in your loved one, don’t avoid taking them to the doctor for fear of bad news.   Many things that seem like Alzheimer’s can be remedied promptly if not ignored.

And if your mom, dad or other loved one is preparing for a downsizing move, don’t forget us!  Many of our clients are delicate and memory challenged.  Call Moving Forward Inc., we’ll be happy to help them relocate with ease!

**originally published 7/27/2011

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