All kidding aside, I am becoming very forgetful in my old age and it worries me as I am really not that old. In fact, when I had to ask my daughter something for the third time, she asked if I had Alzheimer’s. I really think it is because I have outsourced my brain to my laptop and Blackberry so I really don’t have to remember anything anymore. I couldn’t even tell you phone numbers that I call frequently, I just push the speed dial button! After doing some research, I found that my forgetfulness is normal, but it doesn’t hurt to keep an eye on these symptoms.
I have listed the warning signs of Alzheimer’s as well as what is “normal” as you age.
1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life
Normal: Sometimes forgetting names or appointments, but remembering them later ( I just look them up in my Blackberry)
2. Challenges in planning or solving problems
Normal: Making occasional errors when balancing a checkbook (Again, the computer does this for me, I don’t have to think)
3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
Normal: Occasionally needing help to use the settings on a microwave or to record a television show (We just blame it on the cable company!)
4. Confusion with time or place
Normal: Getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later
5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
Normal: Vision changes related to cataracts
6. New problems with words in speaking or writing
Normal: Sometimes having trouble finding the right word
7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
Normal: Misplacing things from time to time, such as a pair of glasses or the remote control (that’s why I have glasses in every room of the house)
8. Decreased or poor judgment
Normal: Making a bad decision once in a while. (this seems to be more of a young person symptom!)
9. Withdrawal from work or social activities
Normal: Sometimes feeling weary of work, family and social obligations
10. Changes in mood and personality
Normal: Developing very specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.
You must admit that you chuckled at a few of these- we have been misplacing the remote for years and I know many people who don’t want their routine interrupted. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms that are beyond the “normal” please see a health professional.
Coming up- Exercises to keep your brain active and healthy in a “thinking optional” world.