As people age, often they have issues with long-term or short-term memory, or both. It’s often a scary thing that family suspects to be Alzheimer’s or dementia but it could just be normal memory loss as we age. and lack of engaging the brain to keep it working. The family can get him tested or try to help him with memory exercises.
Someone I know was tested for Alzheimer’s and came back as having early onset Alzheimer’s, but after a few years it was re-evaluated, and the original test was negated as false. His memory seemed fine the whole time, but everyone was treating him as if he had memory issues and making decisions. His wife was much more scatter-brained and more confused than he ever was, plus having anger and tantrum issues. She hasn’t been tested but because of the outbursts and blaming people for things that were unfounded, it might be time to test her.
Memory loss as we age is a normal thing but keep working at memory issues and recalling events and stories from recent to longer ago.
If your aging parent seems off, spend time challenging their brains. Have him recall things from childhood then into later adulthood and last week. Have her do crossword puzzles, sudoku, jigsaw puzzles, read and such. Make sure she walks a lot, exercises, and eats healthier – avoid sugars after a couple candies or a scoop of ice cream.
I lost my mother to dementia – it’s an awful regression disease. She forgot how to speak English and went back to her native language. Later, she forgot who we were. She forgot more and more until she forgot how to swallow. Life decisions eventually had to be made. We lost her twice – when she forgot us, then when she passed away. Memory loss as we age is normal but not with dementia, where the memory goes backwards.
Food may be important for the brain. My aging dad has insisted on a gluten-free diet for years (to help his brain) but it’s clear the mental decline is getting worse. He can’t keep track of anything, lets bills lapse, falls for scams, and does everything he told me and my mom not to do in prior years. He’s been eating a lot of “fake” foods with flavors to disguise the non- gluten four taste. If one is not sick when eating gluten, don’t get on a non-gluten diet for no reason. Just eat less carbs and foods with flour and sugar. Eat more produce (preferably organic to avoid pesticides which may harm the brain).
Make sure to engage with them – challenge their brains and keep them off the TV for hours. Make them read, do math (work on their finances), write, listen to music, talk about things they have an interest in and test their memories. Memory issues may be averted for a normal aging mind, but Alzheimers may be a bigger challenge with gray matter causing memory issues.