September 1, 2022
Keep These Things in Mind
Studies show that the human brain can store virtually limitless amounts of information and memories. Your brain is powerful, and keeping your mind sharp is important to retain its strength and capacity long-term. When it comes to memory care, you’ve probably heard the terms Dementia and Alzheimers mentioned before. But, do you know what they really mean?
Dementia is a broad term for a group of symptoms that affect memory, thinking, behavior and emotion. It isn’t a specific disease. It is an outcome of several different diseases and conditions. People who experience dementia gradually lose cognitive functioning over time, interfering with their everyday life.
More than 55 million people have dementia worldwide, with a new case arising every three seconds. It’s important to notice signs and symptoms as early as possible, including:
- Memory loss, typically noticed by a loved one
- Hard time communicating or finding words; repeating questions
- Getting lost while driving
- Lessened reasoning or problem-solving skills
- Can’t handle complex tasks, planning or organizing
- Lessened coordination and weaker motor functions
- Confusion and disorientation
- Personality changes
If you suspect a loved one has dementia, speak with a licensed physician immediately. They can perform cognitive and neurological tests, brain scans, psychiatric evaluations, genetic tests and blood tests to provide an official diagnosis.
Alzheimer’s Disease occurs when patients have plaques and tangles—i.e., clumps of different proteins—in their brains that damage healthy neurons and the fibers connecting them. While it is the most common cause of dementia, it is not a synonym for dementia. Not all causes are known, but experts believe that the disease is at least partially genetic. With that said, current research does indicate that there may be much more to the condition than genetic factors, including environmental stressors. Scientists are continuing to study Alzheimer’s Disease with the hope that new treatments can be explored in the near future.
How to Protect Your Mind
Memory loss is generally caused by damage to or loss of nerve cells and their connections in the brain due to the deposit of certain proteins. While it isn’t curable, there are action steps you can take now to minimize its effects if it happens to you. Practice healthy habits that boost your brain health and limit the production of those certain proteins, such as:
- Get enough sleep
- Eat healthy food
- Avoid smoking
- Learn new hobbies to stay mentally alert
We host an ongoing Dementia Family Support Group on the second Wednesday of every month. If you have questions or want to attend, call Shelia Roedler, LMSW, at (254) 404-2531.
Coryell Health understands how important it is to keep your loved ones safe and cared for in the face of memory loss. Our enclosed memory care wing at RehabLiving at the Meadows, including structured programs for residents, has proven to be comforting to those dealing with the confusion and frustration that often accompanies dementia. Visit this page to learn more.