Do you ever have those days when you cannot find your keys, car, or patience? If so, you are in good company. People forget things for many reasons, but it does not necessarily mean you are headed for dementia. We live in a fast-paced world, and multi-tasking and overtime seem to be the rule rather than the exception. Is it any wonder we remember our names, let alone our appointments?
Forgetfulness happens in all stages of life, and the good news is that it is usually a temporary situation. In this article, we will discuss the reasons for absentmindedness and provide tips on curtailing bouts of forgetfulness. We will also discuss mild cognitive impairment and dementia and their symptoms, causes, and treatments.
What Is Dementia?
Dementia is a blanket term, not a disease by itself. It covers several specific abnormal brain change disorders, the most common being Alzheimer’s. Brain changes cause cognitive decline, and the patient has difficulty functioning independently. Relationships and behaviors decline as well. The hippocampus region in the brain is where our memory and learning reside. Damage in the hippocampus region of brain cells is usually the first where damage is found, hence the early signs of memory loss.
Forms of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s, are typically related to older humans but can be present at younger ages, although it is less common. Other forms of mental health disorders may be present concurrently with dementia. Anxiety and depression are most common and may appear even in the earlier stages. Living with dementia alters the perception of security and other vital components of quality of life. During the early stage, a person is likely able to adjust behaviors to deal with those perceptions, but as the disease progresses, those efforts become less effective.
Mild Cognitive Impairment
People with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) have more problems with memory and cognitive thinking than others in the same demographic, yet the symptoms are not as severe as in dementia.
Those with MCI can normally live independently and perform regular daily activities. They are, however, more at risk for Alzheimer’s or other dementia. According to research, an estimated two out of 10 people over 65 who have MCI may develop dementia. However, MCI symptoms in most people either stay the same or may even improve.
Can I Improve Upon My Forgetfulness?
Yes, you can adopt practices that improve your memory and cognitive thinking. The key word to remember is health. Eating healthier foods, exercising, getting fresh air and sunshine, and keeping your doctor and dental appointments can all be positive factors in caring for your brain.
Additionally, staying cognitively active by feeding your brain knowledge every day. Tackle that crossword puzzle, play strategic games and word games, take a writing course, or join a reading group at your local bookstore or library. There are many avenues to sharpen your mind to keep you engaged and entertained.
Here are a few other tips to keep that brain activity flowing:
- Daily physical activity raises the blood flowing through the body and brain
- Be more social and spend some time with loved ones and friends
- Get plenty of sleep
- Organize your life, as organizing is also a mental exercise
- Participate in whatever fuels your passion
- Mindfulness meditation will help manage your thoughts and relax your mind
- Help others because someone can always use a hand, a kind word, or companionship
Remember: “No one is useless in the world who lightens the burden of it for anyone else.” ~Charles Dickens
Therapies for Forgetfulness and Dementia
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a psychotherapy that has proven effective in many mental health concerns. CBT works on the premise that our thinking, feelings, and behaviors are interconnected, allowing us to manipulate and change negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. This therapy can significantly impact depressive disorders and dementia, to name a few.
Mindfulness meditation, yoga, group therapy, holistic therapy, and other talk therapies may also be effective in helping symptoms of Alzheimer’s and co-occurring mental health disorders. These therapies are part of a personalized treatment plan for a patient’s co-occurring conditions, including medication and dietary implications.
Quality of Life
The best advice anyone can give or accept is to live your best life. Take care of your body so it will take care of you for as long as possible. Take care of your mind, keep positive, be kind, and let life flood your soul with sunlight and goodness. Surround yourself with people who love you, believe in you, and support you, and be the same for them.
When you forget your phone or car keys or leave the cat outside too long, forgive yourself, make corrections, and move on. Always remember that you make a difference in this world, and your contribution to the universe is significant, no matter what your brain tells you.
At SoCal Mental Health, your mental health is always our priority. Forgetfulness is a part of life, but seeking help is the right thing when it gets overwhelming. Our dedication to you includes your overall mental well-being. We have busy lives, and our commitment to getting things done can cause us to misplace things or forget appointments, leading to anxiety. If you feel overwhelmed due to mental health issues or forgetfulness, we can help. Our programs are designed for your needs, whether for mental health, substance abuse recovery, relapse, or other addictive struggles. Don’t go through this alone; we can help you. Call us at (888) 312-0219 for more information.