Short-term memory loss for seniors may or may not be a sign of a serious health issue

Cheryl E Preston
Short term memory loss in seniorsPhoto byJeff Theodore Unsplash

Short-term memory loss

Short-term memory loss is when you forget something you saw, heard, or did recently. This is a normal part of aging and may or may not be a sign of something more serious such as dementia, a brain injury, or mental health issue. Many older adults joke that they can tell you what happened 40 years ago but don't recall why they went into a room.

This morning I had a short-term memory lapse that prevented me from remembering what I had done only 30 minutes earlier. I returned home from Kroger and looked at my bank account online and was alarmed to see a $20.00 charge. I called Kroger and told the employee, I had a receipt for my $5.00 purchase and that if I had gotten cash back my total would have been $ 25.00.

I thought some fraud had taken place until the customer service rep very calmly asked if I had purchased gas. For a one-half hour, my mind did not recall that I had just put gas in the vehicle at Kroger and I was alarmed. Knowing that I am not the only one and that others older adults deal with this issue really does not help. Understanding what is going on is important so that as we age we don't panic but do obtain proper information.

Mild cognitive impairment

Some seniors have a condition called mild cognitive impairment, (MCI), which indicates they have more cognitive problems than others their age. People with MCI can usually maintain normal activities and take care of themselves. MCI may be an early warning sign of Alzheimer's disease, but not everyone who has MCI will develop Alzheimer's.

Signs of mild cognitive impairment are forgetting to go to appointments or important events, losing things on a regular basis, and having trouble coming up with the desired words as others who are the same age. If you believe you are having problems it is wise to talk to your healthcare provider.

A few tips that may help you along the way are putting wallets, pocketbooks, keys, and remote controls in the same place each day. Remaining active with family and friends, getting at least seven hours of sleep each night, and keeping blood pressure under control. Experts also recommend reading, working puzzles, and listening to music as ways to prevent cognitive decline.

Widow brain

Those who have lost a spouse might be dealing with Widow brain which is feeling as if you are in a fog or a dream ad unable to concentrate after a husband or wife dies. Widow brain is not an official disease
and is said to last from a few months to a year but each case is different. The bottom line is that if you are eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and exercising and find that nothing suggested is working to repair your short-term memory please see a professional.

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I write, about breaking news, and current events. I wrote a newspaper column from 1997 to 2007 and have written for various online platforms since 2012 including Yahoo Contributor Network, Hubpages, and Vocal Media.

Roanoke, VA

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