Slight memory loss could lead to dementia

Jasmine Phu

September 15, 2011

Having more accurate measures to determine when an elder loved one may need more assistance is key to letting them age in place, while still ensuring their safety.

According to a new study found in the American Geriatrics Society, seniors complaining of memory lapses – like forgetting recent events – may actually be exhibiting signs of early dementia development.

Those conducting the study asked 16,964 women with an average age of 74, seven questions about memory complaints. They then asked them a series of questions that would help them assess each participants cognitive function.

From the data, researchers found that those who had more memory complaints also showed worse cognitive function based on the second set of questions.

“These findings suggest that clinicians may need to differentiate between the types of memory complaints their patients have, as some are likely due to normal aging whereas others are worrisome for possible cognitive decline,” said Dr. Rebecca Amariglio, lead author of the study.

Those worried that their loved one’s memory may be getting worse should consider installing a medical alert system that they can wear if they become disoriented and frightened. The one-touch button instantly contacts caregivers or emergency personnel.

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