Sometimes we all find ourselves wondering if we’re dealing with just a little bit of dementia. Whether it’s because we’ve forgotten a word in the middle of a sentence or what to call an everyday object, it’s enough to make you wonder why you’re this way. The good news is these aren’t symptoms of a serious disease, just a normal part of aging.
Why Aging Changes Your Brain
As you age you should expect your brain to change. It’ll take you longer to learn new things and remember old things. This form of mild forgetfulness is different from serious memory problems like Alzheimer’s disease. Some of the most common biological and psychological causes of this type of dementia include:
- Blood clots
- Brain infections
- Thyroid problems such as hypothyroidism
- Kidney or liver disorders
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Trauma to the head (e.g. a concussion)
- The side effects of medication
- Not eating enough healthy foods so you’re not getting enough vitamins and minerals – especially in terms of a Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Emotional problems including stress, anxiety, and depression
- Major life changes like recent retirement or coping with the death of a friend or loved one
None of these things should prevent you from performing everyday tasks and being socially engaged. However, if it gets worse, it could possibly result in Alzheimer’s disease. How this progression works is something researchers are still studying. This is why the only person who can honestly determine how sharply you’re declining is yourself. To do this you’ll need to routinely monitor your own memory. The added benefit here is that by doing so you’ll learn how to best compensate for any declines you do discover. For instance, you can make lists on your phone of things you need to do or items you need to pick up while at the store. You may even need to start placing those important items you need to take with you when you leave your home in front of your door.
The Role of Hearing in Dementia
As you monitor your overall health, one thing you really need to pay attention to is your hearing. Researchers have concluded that hearing loss speeds up age-related cognitive decline. In fact, the worse your initial hearing loss is, the more likely you’ll have some type of memory problem. Johns Hopkins Medicine has reported that people with mild, moderate and severe hearing loss are 2, 3 and 5x more likely to develop dementia than those people with normal hearing. Even after researchers took into account other factors that are associated with dementia, including diabetes, high blood pressure, age, sex and race, hearing loss and dementia are still strongly connected. So, while gradual hearing loss is a common symptom of the aging process, it’s important to monitor it make sure you’re doing all you can to remain mentally astute.
Coping with Your Loved One’s Dementia
Don’t lose your humor while dealing with someone who has dementia. Keep a smile on your face and help your loved one the best you can. Sometimes getting them hearing aids so they can hear you better is beneficial. If you feel that this is what your loved one needs, contact us at Countryside Hearing Aid Services. We’d be happy to help you.
Image Credit: geralt