3 Misconceptions Surrounding Memory Loss

April 15, 2023 | Memory Support
What causes memory loss; misconceptions surrounding memory loss and dementia

Everyone has misplaced household items, forgotten an address or had a hard time remembering someone’s name; it’s completely natural to experience minor lapses in memory. But what happens when you notice a loved one having consistent and concerning memory issues?

What causes memory loss is impacted by a lot of factors. One is age; physiological changes to the brain alter how it typically functions. As a result, it might take longer to retain new information, and a person’s brain might not be as sharp as it was decades ago. However, it’s important to understand that memory loss does not mean a person is living with severe cognitive decline or developing dementia. 

Age-related memory loss is a normal part of the aging process, and many misconceptions and myths surround the connection between memory loss and dementia. At Astral at Franklin, our memory care community in Franklin, Indiana, wants to explain some of the most common myths surrounding memory loss and dementia to help you and your family navigate this journey.

Myth #1: Memory loss is a sign of dementia.

Perhaps the biggest misconception regarding what causes memory loss is the idea that any display of memory loss is a sign that a person has a form of dementia. However, the truth is that forgetfulness happens; the severity of the memory loss signifies a more severe health condition.

For instance, if mom or dad forgets their car keys as they walk out the door, that’s a natural memory slip. However, if they can’t remember what the car keys are used for, this is a cause for concern.

If your loved one is occasionally forgetful, misplaces items in their home every so often or struggles to remember specific dates or names, it should not be an immediate cause for concern. Everybody has forgetful moments; just because a person is getting older does not mean they are developing dementia. 

It is important to keep an eye out for any forgetful instances that seem severe, during which they exhibit strange behavior or cannot remember things that are routine or simply common sense.

Myth #2: Dementia is always genetic.

Dementia is not always genetic, as many people might believe. While there are forms of dementia that have strong genetic links, these types are fairly rare. In other words, most dementia and Alzheimer’s cases are not inherited. 

Family history doesn’t mean that a person is guaranteed to develop dementia at some point in life. Still, it is important to understand how family history can affect the likelihood of dementia. Studies have shown that if you have a close relative who has been diagnosed with dementia, your risk increases by about 30%. 

There’s no way to control your genetics, but there are preventative measures that a person can take to stay ahead of the situation and decrease their likelihood of developing memory impairment. Taking control of your health and ensuring that you participate in regular physical activity, healthy eating and mental and social activities can potentially lower your risk of dementia.

Myth #3: Dementia cannot be prevented.

It’s true there is no guaranteed way to prevent dementia as researchers continue to discover exactly how dementia develops; in fact, the origins of what causes memory loss and dementia are still relatively unknown. However, there are many risk factors that have been proven to increase a person’s risk of developing a form of dementia. Examples of these risk factors include:

  • Weight
  • Lack of exercise
  • Lack of a healthy diet
  • Alcohol and smoking in excess
  • High blood pressure

While current medications are unable to cure dementia and Alzheimer’s, there are two treatments that serve to alter the underlying biology of dementia, therefore changing the way that dementia progresses – aducanumab (Aduhelm) and lecanemab (Lequembi). Both therapeutic medications remove beta-amyloid from the brain, reducing cognitive and functional decline in those living with the early stages of dementia. 

If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, the Navigate Memory Care Program at Astral at Franklin is here to support your family. Our comfortable home-like setting and highly trained care providers can help your loved one enjoy and celebrate life’s moments. 

Our goal at Navigate Memory Care is to give your loved one the respect, dignity and quality of life they deserve. Visit our website to learn more about our memory care community in Franklin, Indiana.

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