Understanding Memory Loss & the Truth Behind Common Misconceptions
With an adult brain weighing only three pounds, it is remarkable that this vital organ controls how the rest of the body functions – including how we formulate and recall memories. But there is still so much we do not understand about the human brain.
Memory is often misunderstood, and unfortunately, this has led to myths, misconceptions and even fears that could be avoided if more people took the time to educate themselves.
Offering specialized memory care and support in Wyoming, Michigan, our team at Rivertown Ridge knows the stigma these misconceptions can create around memory loss and those impacted by it. This is why we are sharing the truth behind common myths to help individuals gain a better understanding of memory loss.
Myth #1: Memory Loss is a Normal Part of Aging
We all have the occasional moment where we forget why we walked into a room or where we put our keys, but despite popular opinion, memory loss is not a normal part of the aging process.
However, it can be challenging to determine the difference between an occasional lapse in memory and significant memory loss. A good way to know if memory issues are cause for concern is if they are affecting a person’s daily life or functioning.
For example, while misplacing keys or eyeglasses is common, if a person is misplacing things and unable to retrace their steps to find them, it may be a sign of a more serious memory issue. Another example would be communication. Forgetting a specific word can happen, but if a person is unable to hold a conversation, misuses words, or repeats themselves, it is recommended they speak to a healthcare provider.
Myth #2: Memory Loss Means Dementia
Just because Mom or Dad forgot the name of an acquaintance does not mean they have or are developing dementia. At the first sign of memory loss, many people jump to the conclusion of dementia, but this is not always the case.
In fact, several other factors could be causing unusual forgetfulness. Some of these include:
- Medication side effects
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Thyroid disorder
- Urinary tract infection
If you or someone you love is experiencing dementia-like symptoms, talk to your doctor about all the possibilities and discuss an appropriate treatment plan.
Myth #3: Memory Loss is Inevitable
A major misunderstanding about memory loss is that it is inevitable. Not only are dementia and memory loss not normal parts of aging, but by leading an active and healthy lifestyle, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing memory-related conditions.
Research shows that some of the ways to do this include:
- Participating in regular physical activity
- Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet
- Staying mentally and socially active
- Avoiding smoking
- Not drinking alcohol excessively
It’s important to note that “for Alzheimer’s and related dementias, no behavior or lifestyle factors have risen to the level of researchers being able to say: This will definitely prevent these diseases. But there are promising avenues (alzheimers.gov).”.
Myth #4: Memory Loss Means a Lower Quality of Life
While memory loss can present challenges, it does not mean that a person living with memory impairment has to experience a lower quality of life. For those with memory loss that is impacting their daily life, memory care communities can help them live safer, healthier lives.
At Rivertown Ridge, residents benefit from a fully customized care plan that provides the level of support they need to achieve their highest level of wellness. Our team members work with residents and their families to assess current needs, identify opportunities for improvement, and plan for the future. As a result, along with our innovative programming, social activities, and on-site wellness center, our memory care residents find everything they need to stay healthy, engaged, and mentally active.
Memory loss does not mean a loss of quality of life. While taking care of your health, both physical and mental, is important, memory loss may still affect you or someone you love.
To learn more about the memory care and support options we offer at Rivertown Ridge, visit our website or contact a member of our team.