Memory Loss: What’s Normal, What’s Not
The month of May is recognized as better Hearing and Speech Month.
Information is stored in various parts of your memory. Short-term memory may include someone’s name you’ve just met. Recent memory may include what you ate for breakfast, and remote or long-term memory includes your memories from years ago.
“Beginning in your twenties, you begin to lose brain cells and as a result short-term and remote memories aren’t usually affected by aging, but your recent memory may be,” said Nicole Lee, CCC, MS-SLP, a Speech Therapist with Ascension Rehabilitation Services at Ascension Good Samaritan Hospital. “This is normal and to help remember important dates and details, you can keep lists, use calendars, follow routines, and do things that keep your mind and body busy.”
Many things other than aging can cause memory problems including depression, stroke, head injury, side effects of drugs, alcoholism, and Alzheimer’s disease. These memory problems should be discussed with your physician. Memory problems that are not part of normal aging include:
*Forgetting things much more often
*Forgetting how to do things you’ve done many times before
*Trouble learning new things
*Repeating stories in the same conversation
*Trouble making choices or handling money
*Not being able to keep track of what happens each day
Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging,” adds Lee. “At first, a person with Alzheimer’s will remember details of the distant past, but not recent events or conversations. Over time, the disease will affect all parts of the person’s memory. When it becomes advanced, they will no longer be able to communicate effectively.”
Lee adds that mild memory loss comes normally with aging and keeping the brain active is key. Reading, singing, completing puzzles, playing cards, exercising, and eating a balanced diet stimulates blood flow and activity in the brain.
“Speech Pathologists treat memory loss by providing patients with strategies to improve memory or teach the use of compensatory strategies such as calendars, alarms, and highlights to create memory reminders,” said Lee.
Ascension rehabilitation teams provide a comprehensive, individual approach to meet Specific needs with inpatient, outpatient and in-home care plans with integrated support from therapists and specialists. In addition to offering manual therapy, strength training and balance training, assistance with speech exercises and practice in completing tasks to ease muscle strain and improve your safety.
For more information about Ascension Rehabilitation Services in Merrill, please call 888.843.1367.
About Ascension Wisconsin
Ascension Wisconsin operates 24 hospital campuses, more than 100 related healthcare facilities and employs more than 1,300 primary and specialty care clinicians from Racine to Eagle River. Serving Wisconsin since 1848, Ascension is a faith-based healthcare organization committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable. As such, Ascension Wisconsin provided more than $292 million in community benefit, including care of persons living in poverty in Fiscal Year 2018. Ascension is one of the leading non-profit and Catholic health system in the U.S. operating 2,600 sites of care – including 151 hospitals and more than 50 senior living facilities – in 21 states and the District of Columbia.