Are you noticing some memory changes in yourself or a loved one? When I started studying Alzheimer’s Disease during my first degree in Neuropsychology at the University of Alberta and later when I worked in research at McMaster University many years ago I learned that people often start to show signs of memory changes in their 40’s! I found this so unusual as I always thought that memory changes happened much later than this. Many, many factors contribute to memory loss. Sometimes it’s because of poor circulation in the body (which then also reflects poor circulation in the brain). Sometimes it’s because of higher cholesterol blocking arteries, sometimes because of poor nutrition, and sometimes because of too many thoughts cluttering the mind.
You can imagine that each of these causes requires a different management of the same symptom of memory loss. So it’s very important to work with someone who is paying particular attention to the cause of someone’s memory loss.
Drug interactions or drug-supplement interactions must also be carefully balanced as sometimes these will have less-helpful benefits (and sometimes even harm) to particular individuals. I have noticed that especially in my older clients, metabolism changes are not taken into consideration when many people go for annual visits with their health care providers. As we age, metabolism does slow down so sometimes the same dose of a medication that was good in a person’s 30’s is not right for someone in his/her 60’s. This is important to consider before thinking of adding another medication or supplement to treat what may seem to be “not working” anymore.
Some supplements can help boost heart health, some improve circulation and others help memory specifically. The right choice depends on a patient’s personal history, current blood work and current medications/supplements. Understanding the true underlying cause of memory changes is most important. Sometimes a cluttered/busy mind alone is what needs to be managed through meditation, prayer or even improving sleep.
Finally, one important detail for caregivers or family members of someone with memory loss: Remember that long-term memory often stays intact with Alzheimer’s disease, but short-term memory is often weaker. So a person may remember everything they did at 10 years old but may not remember what they ate for breakfast today. With memory changes, an individual will often feel frustrated as they are sometimes aware of changes happening within themselves but can’t pinpoint what is currently frustrating them – and they will often take their frustration out in angry outbursts or blame towards care providers. This is not unusual and I encourage caregivers to take care of their own mental health through this time of caregiving. It is not easy. And caregivers also need care. The mental strain of caregiving can create long-term health changes in the caregiver too. It’s best to work with efforts in the prevention of such changes.
Sharing a pleasant activity together that brings back older memories can often be quite lifting in this time. Looking through old photographs often brings great joy to many people, as does listening to older, favourite music choices (which could even be played in the background to lift the energy of a person with memory loss of any sort). Focus on the simple things here and now and try to just be present for a person going through this change to help the most in this moment. And do know that even advanced memory losses can be helped with careful attention to causes that may take just slight nutrition or supplement changes to make a noticeable difference.
Most of all, try to maintain peaceful and/or uplifting energy in the home of a person with memory changes/loss. For both the person going through such changes and for caregivers, this is the best blessing for this time. It is enjoying what is best right now and the best right now can be cherished by all.
Do contact me if you’d like any help with memory changes in yourself or a loved one.
email: firstname.lastname@example.org; or phone 416-920-8975
Have a peaceful evening and remember the good – right here, right now.