Memory Loss: My Parent is Forgetful – Is it Serious?

By Pamela D. Wilson, CSA, MS, BS/BA, CG

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?

There is a term called “cognitive control” that means the ability to coordinate, organize behavior, plan, and reason which are considered higher order brain processes that support or impair day-to-day function. Simple mention of forgetting where one placed a set of keys is also relevant however day-to-day functioning is more relevant in diagnosing memory loss. It’s this change in day to day functioning that occurs over time and that many family members fail to notice until something more significant occurs that cannot be ignored.

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