Memory

Memory loss in old age is often taken for granted. While Dementia is the most common cause of memory loss as an individual approaches the later years of his or her life, it is not the only cause for memory impairment. Some of these causes that may lead to concerns with memory are mentioned below in brief.

MILD COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT: This is a state where-in a person experiences a decline in mental faculties such as memory, attention, orientation, language, thinking and judgement. The impairment is more than just everyday forgetfulness, but is not severe enough to warrant a diagnosis of dementia. Although it is often seen as a precursor to dementia, every person with Mild Cognitive Impairment may not develop dementia.

DEPRESSION: Depression in older adults often manifests as memory problems along with other symptoms. That is, an older adult suffering from depression could show symptoms of dementia. This condition is known as ‘pseudodementia’. Some of the common symptoms are excessive concern about their memory, feelings of guilt, hopelessness, lack of interest, anxiety as well as appetite changes.

REVERSIBLE DEMENTIA: Reversible dementias are conditions which present with the symptoms of dementia, but may be causes by various treatable factors. As such, unlike dementia, they can be treated. These conditions are mentioned below under ‘treatable dementias’.

Apart from the abovementioned conditions, memory issues are predominantly seen when an older adult develops one or the other form of Dementia.

DEMENTIA

What is Dementia?

Dementia refers to a decline in several of the mental faculties of a person, thereby leading to problems in his or her day to day functioning. Dementia usually develops gradually. It is a progressive condition, meaning that the symptoms get worse with time. While initially the symptoms of Dementia may only slightly interfere with the daily functioning of an individual, over time it becomes highly debilitating. Dementia is an umbrella term, the symptoms of which can be caused by several processes such as Alzheimer’s disease, Vascular Dementia, Frontotemporal Dementia, Lewy body Disease and many others.

What are the symptoms of Dementia?

Dementia impacts the overall ability to function, impacting several areas of a person’s life in a negative manner. A key aspect is that an individual may find it difficult to do the same tasks that he or she used to perform earlier with ease. Central to this condition is the effect it has on memory. Individuals may find it difficult to recall information or to remember new information.

Other problems that a person may experience include:

Thus, a person with Dementia will typically experience the following challenges:

What are the problems that a caregiver can face?

Individuals with Dementia display certain behaviours owing to their condition, which can be stressful for the family or caregivers to handle. These behaviours may include:

At what age does Dementia begin and how common is it?

Generally, Dementia begins in old age. However, in some cases, it can begin by the age of 45-50 years, and is known as early-onset Dementia. Dementia is seen to be prevalent in about 5% of those aged 65, but this rate increases to about 20-40% in those over age 85.

What are some common myths about Dementia?

What causes Dementia?

Risk factors:

What are the treatment options available?

Treatment for Dementia involves:

As a caregiver, what can I do?

Given below are some tips that can be useful for caregivers of those with Dementia:

How Do I Prevent Dementia?

If you detect any changes in memory or behaviour and suspect dementia, it is crucial that you take proactive steps in the very beginning. This could help delay the onset of Dementia, thereby allowing you to live a symptom free life for a longer period.

Diagnosis of Dementia requires comprehensive testing and assessment so as to rule out the treatable causes of Dementia. Investigations such as blood test or spinal tap (to identify presence of APOE gene), MRI to detect changes in brain functioning, clinical assessment by a clinical psychologist to detect the change in cognitive functioning are necessary for coming to a diagnosis of Dementia.

Our team has a well-balanced network of doctors and psychologists who will be able to help you through the process of getting an accurate diagnosis. Additionally, through team consultations and collaborations, a care plan that includes pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment will be formulated and implemented to ensure the best possible quality of life.



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