Memory impairment: It's not always permanent

Sue Daugherty
Mar 23, 2010

Because there was so much interest in the blog, "Aging, memory impairment and driving," I wanted to look into a related topic.

How permanent is memory impairment in later life?

Not all memory impairment is permanent. Few people realize this. Family and friends of an older person experiencing memory problems are too quick to credit the problem to Alzheimer's Disease. As a result a condition that may be reversible never gets treated.

I've also known older adults who don't want confirmation about their own suspected memory impairment. They deal with the problem on the premise that ignorance is bliss. They have already assumed that there is no cure for their ailment, and therefore, they don't look for one. They have already decided that it's probably Alzheimer's Disease, or a related disorder, and they don't want to confirm it. Hence, they don't tell their doctor.

The truth is that there can be many causes of memory impairment that are reversible, if properly diagnosed in time. Here are some examples:

*Medication interactions or medication side effects

*Urinary tract infections

*Brain tumors

*Vitamin B deficiency

*Thyroid dysfunction

*Depression

There is a high incidence of depression in older people and few receive thorough treatment. Most get no treatment at all. There is a term called "depressive pseudo-dementia" to describe elderly patients with severe memory impairment whose cause is depression. Research has found that "once their depression is treated, memory returns to baseline." ("Improving Memory:Understanding Age-Related Memory Loss")

So if I have just described you or someone you know, here are two tips. Call the Alzheimer's Association of Northwest Ohio  and ask to speak with someone about diagnosing reversible causes of memory impairment. The other tip is to find a geriatrician — a physician who is a specialist in the care and treatment of health problems in the elderly — and get a geriatric assessment. University Hospitals and Cleveland Clinic both provide geriatric assessment services.

For those who are interested, there is an "Alzheimer's Walk for A Cure" at 2 p.m. September 14 at Osborne Park. You can sign up on the www.alz.org/nwohio Web site or you can simply make a donation by sponsoring me, Sue Daugherty, in my walk at this event. Make your checks payable to The Alzheimer's Association of Northwest Ohio and send them to Serving Our Seniors, 310 E. Boalt St., Sandusky, Ohio.

Comments

Rick Studer

Finally, Sue’s back on her game….

Anonymous

Depression hits more people than many think.Employment & or lack thereof. Divorce (younger children) More rules (laws). I envy my parents generation. They grew up in the late fourties. Opportunities were more plentiful then, & they acknowledge that fact.

Anonymous

This was very interesting to me. I'm only early 50's but already I acknowlege my memory and thought processes aren't up to what I think I should still have.
I am caregiver of my elderly parents, and am losing my job by year's end. I really don't feel stressed, I am grateful for what I have (parents, job, husband and family) for as long as I have had them. I accept what God (or whatever higher power you believe in) has in store for my future, and I know it is up to be to go after and get it.
I was very encouraged to see memory problems may be due to Thyroid or vitamin B deficiency, as these would be easily corrected. My point is, I know now, there other reasons for memory problems beyond natural aging.

Anonymous

IMO, far too many people worry needlessly in regards to a misplaced belief that their memory is becoming increasingly impairment.

There’s too much media garbage and nonsensical trivia that IMO isn’t worth the waste of storage space in a brain cell. If I can’t remember who starred in what movie – who cares?

I recently read something in effect of the following and thought that it helped put the issue somewhat into perspective:

It’s a matter of degrees. When searching for your car in a large parking lot, there’s a big difference between merely forgetting where you parked and the more potentially serious nature of not being able to remember the make or the color of car you’re driving.

Rick Studer

To: Smell The Coffee

Hey Ed, if I was you I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss mental testing. Do these statements actually make sense to you? “their memory is becoming increasingly impairment” and “Are many Americans inclusive of numerous Ohioans spoiled rotten whiney children.”

Just a thought…

Anonymous

Ah yes the time is here to wax poetic, or like Rick Studer other areas. I ask you Mr. Studer which bar do you patronize more? Is it Club X or Crowbar? Yes I am questioning your manhood, but your flowery comments always seem to slant um shall we say a gay way. Studer stop your pompous homo ways and start talking about the subject at hand. I call for the ban of Rick Studers negative and amorall comments.

Anonymous

Mr. Studer:

There is medication and treatment available for your OCD.

Your perfectionist tendencies are an indication of mental illness. Get help.

Anonymous

The article seems to discribe a Nusse supporter, depression, memory impairment, and listening to Sue.

BLACKJACK

hey art, u bring yur homophone but to the crowbar and will tsalk

Anonymous

Dear Mr. Blackjack, apparently you drink better than you type. Im sorry my homophone has been disconnected so I must decline your invitation to tsalk down at The Crowbar. I am sure if you invite Rick Studer he would gladly accept. As for me I like to patronize a bar where the bar stools are right side up. So Mr. Blackjack or should I say Mr.Rum and Coke, when you make your future idiotic posts please be be sure to review and check your spelling so they may actually make some sort of sence.

Anonymous

Being homosexual is tolerable, but flaunting it and being open for
the sake of it, is not, IMO. It doesn't matter which way you look at it, it is unnatural to be homosexual. A man is supposed to be with a woman. We must stamp out these bars.
The thought of a man being with another man turns my stomach.

Anonymous

We're not gay -not that there's anything wrong with it.

Anonymous

finally, a gay blog, its about time

BLACKJACK

artv--im goin to the crow now—come on over funie man. See how typin is fun wth brkn thums

Anonymous

Listen here Mr., BJ will kick yur old butt fast. He may be a queen but he fights like don king!!!!

Anonymous

Blackjack and Brokeback Bill were you two seperated at birth? You two both have the same level of stupidity. I dont know about you Blackjack but i dont use my thumbs to type, but hey who am i to judge. If thats how you type at the trailer park so be it. As for you Brokeback your comment is just as moronic, you two may be flaming queens but Don King was never a fighter only a boxing promoter. So once again get your facts straight and stop taking your what you think is clever quotes for pooorly written pieces of garbage gay coming of age movies and start using your own mind. I know it will be hard and there will be alot of smoke but please try, you wouldnt want to give digusting ammorall homosexuals like you a bad name.