Memory Loss & Impairment Category

Memory loss impairmentMemory Loss & Impairment – Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, frontal temporal dementia, brain injuries, Parkinson’s disease; these are all diagnosis associated with memory loss.  Many individuals with memory loss remain undiagnosed for years; often until the memory loss is so advanced that they are unable to care for themselves.   Other individuals with memory loss are cared for by dedicated family members. What are the challenges of caring for an individual with memory loss?  What long term preparations are needed? Should individuals with memory loss continue to drive?

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The healthcare industry is biased against care for older adults with dementia. For example, differing opinions exist about providing physical rehabilitation also called physical therapy for older adults with dementia recovering from hip fractures. Medications for dementia are discontinued by doctors without knowledge of the serious physical declines that occur. Older adults with dementia deserve dignity, medical care, and empathy from healthcare practitioners.

Undiagnosed dementia

Many doctors fail to diagnose dementia in older adults. Family members lack the skills to notice or report behaviors that are related to dementia. How will older adults with dementia, considered an ignored population, be diagnosed? While many of us fear a diagnosis of dementia, the risks of not diagnosing are significant and have long-term effects.

Parents Memory Loss



Caregivers wonder about signs that indicate a loved one may have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia. Is simple forgetfulness an indicator? Is the type of forgetfulness a factor? How complicated is memory loss to diagnose? How might I notice forgetfulness in a loved one? Isn’t becoming forgetful as we age normal?

Memory Loss Screening And Diagnosis If you had a diagnosis of memory loss, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease would you want to know?  The answer to this question is controversial among health care providers and consumers.  Some believe, why diagnose when there’s nothing that can be done anyway.  Others believe that a diagnosis should be made so that treatment, even though not curative, can be accessed.

Controversial Benefits Of Microchip ImplantsIf you had a diagnosis of memory loss, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease would you want to know?  The answer to this question is controversial among health care providers and consumers.  Some believe, why diagnose when there’s nothing that can be done anyway.  Others believe that a diagnosis should be made so that treatment, even though not curative, can be accessed.

Missing The Signs Of Alzheimer's DiseaseMany family members are unaware of the early signs of memory loss, cognitive impairment, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease because.  They assume whatever they are seeing relative to memory loss is a normal process related to aging.  And physicians, in the fifteen minutes they see a patient, look for signs of chronic illness — not signs that memory loss is creating issues with daily activities or safety.


The up and down emotional rollercoasterParkinson’s disease is a health diagnosis within the family of dementias that also includes Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Lewy Body dementia and fronto-temporal dementia. The main difference between Parkinson’s disease and the other dementias is that the disease presents first as a movement disorder and second as a cognitive disorder.

The up and down emotional rollercoasterThe relationship between alcohol and a diagnosis of dementia remains somewhat a conundrum. While research has been ongoing, there remains a gap in conclusive data reporting that long term excessive alcohol use alone results in dementia. Long term excessive alcohol use has been proven to result in cardiac disorders, strokes, nutritional deficits, liver, and digestive diseases.

Impact of Dementia on the caregiver“If only someone else could walk in my shoes and experience what it takes to care for a loved one with dementia. Sometimes I feel like I’m going crazy.”

Trying to maintain a normal life is relative when one cares for a person with dementia. “Normal” in dementia may seem to others like living in a state of altered reality. Behaviors resulting from dementia that include paranoia, repetitive actions and statements, aggression, and total disbelief that anything is wrong are challenging and one of the more common causes of stress for caregivers.

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Alzheimer’s MedicationsResearch (Ellis 2005) exists regarding the benefits of using a class of drugs called cholinesterase inhibitors in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The American Geriatrics Society cautions use of these medications stating that periodic assessments of the benefits and adverse effects should be completed on a regular basis. Evidence for long term use is lacking. Cholinesterase inhibitors are not recommended for individuals in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease.


Is It Time To Give Up The Car Keys?We love our cars.  Some of us love the type of car we own and the way it looks; sporty, shiny or compact. For others it’s the way our cars make us feel when we’re driving; a convertible with the wind blowing through our hair. Others love the ability to jump in the car and go for a drive; the freedom and mobility a car provides.


Signs Of Memory Loss And The Value Of DiagnosisFear of pursuing a diagnosis of memory loss is common.  Avoiding discussions denies the opportunity to express concerns and desires and to plan for the future.

The Pitfalls And Dangers Of Moderate Cognitive ImpairmentCaregivers prefer to avoid saying the words Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.  Professionals, recognizing fear, use terms like mild cognitive impairment or moderate cognitive impairment to dance around the reality of making a diagnosis.  I take many of my clients to medical appointments.  At a particular appointment, the doctor performed cognitive testing and diagnosed my client with moderate cognitive impairment.

Alzheimer’s Disease


While Alzheimer’s disease steals memories from once healthy individuals, one memory that remains is the memory of music. According to an article by D. Aldridge, “While language deterioration is a feature of cognitive deficits, musical abilities appear to be preserved.”1

Brain Health - Audio InterviewInterview with Dr. Bryan Kolb, Principal Investigator Behavioral Neurosciences, University of Lethbridge, Canada


(podcast 8:06 playing time)
Click below to listen:

Dementia and Delirium

DSD is a term describing delirium superimposed on dementia. This condition most commonly occurs when a person with dementia experiences a hospitalization or a significant change in medical condition like a diagnosis of pneumonia or a urinary tract infection. Professionals working in the care industry and family members of loved ones with dementia notice signs of increased confusion, agitation, aggression, irritability, and physical decline. In these situations, this perceived overnight change occurs suddenly and rapidly. One day the person was doing well and the next day the change is so significant that there is concern the person will be unable to function at the prior level, will require a significant increase in daily care, or may not recover at all.

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