Dear Diana I am in my early 60’s and am annoyed with myself because I often don’t remember people’s names or what I am out shopping for and sometimes I even forget what I did yesterday! My family get cross with me is there anything I can do to help myself?
Elaine Wright… Huddersfield
Dear Elaine it’s normal to become a bit forgetful as we get older. But memory loss (amnesia) is unusual forgetfulness which happens when we can’t remember information of new events, or past events which we would normally be able to recall. Memory loss can start suddenly and get worse over some time, or the loss may be for a short time (transient) and then resolve. Some memory loss may be caused by anxiety stress or depression. It’s a distressing situation for both the person affected and their family with relatives sometimes fearing the worst. They assume its dementia, but this often isn’t the case, 40% of people over 65 have some type of memory problem, but only 15% will develop dementia each year.
Simple tips to cope with poor memory are keeping things like car keys in the same place, and writing important events and dates down. If you are worried it could more serious talk to your doctor who will do an initial assessment, ask questions about symptoms, your family history and lifestyle. A GP may arrange a blood test or if a more serious underlying condition is suspected, like brain damage, refer you to a specialist. But hopefully you jotting things down will do the trick!