How many of us joke about having trouble remembering things? It is a common problem. We have all heard the saying, “if you don’t use it, you will loose it.” But what if you have done everything you know to do, such as cross word puzzles, exercise and being social, but by no fault of your own you are loosing your memory?
There are eight simple questions you should ask yourself. Your answers will tell if you simply need to exercise your memory to get it back in shape, or if you may have the beginnings of changes that a doctor should know about.
Change is the key word in the above statement. We all have a baseline understanding of how each of our individual minds work. We should know when things have changed. The Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Washington University developed an instrument called the AD8. It asks eight questions for you to answer with a, “Yes, A Change”, “No, no change”, or “N/A, don’t know”.
1) Do you have problems with judgment? (e.g., problems making decisions, bad financial decisions, problems with thinking)
2) Are you less interested in hobbies or common activities?
3) Do you often repeat the same things over and over? (questions, stories, or statements)
4) Do you have trouble learning how to use a tool, appliance or gadget? (e.g., phone, computer, microwave, remote control)
5) Do you have trouble remembering the correct month and year?
6) Do you have trouble handling complicated financial affairs? (e.g., balancing checkbook, income taxes, paying bills)
7) Do you have trouble remembering appointments?
8) Do you have daily problems with thinking and / or memory?
If you have said yes to three of these questions you should talk to your doctor. I am asking you to be honest with yourself about any changes that may have occurred in the past several years. You may find there is help for your situation and early recognition means you have options.
If you are diagnosed with mild to moderate memory loss or dementia, we can help. Many of our clients have a home health aide come to their home to help them with daily tasks related to memory. We can reminisce, play cards, encourage exercise and do crossword puzzles to stimulate thought. A couple hours of support each day may be enough to allow you to stay independent and living in your own home.