Early memory loss can be subtle enough to miss, and it’s easy to brush it off as a part of getting older. But it’s important to recognize that while some forgetfulness can be a normal part of aging, memory loss that impacts your life in serious ways is not something to shrug off; it’s a sign that you should visit the doctor. The good news is that for many people, memory loss is reversible, and for those experiencing memory loss due to dementia, early treatment can help slow its progression.
As a senior living community providing memory care services, Melrose Gardens understands the importance of early intervention when it comes to memory loss. In this article, we’ll discuss how visiting a doctor or specialist, such as a neurologist, can help in the fight against memory loss.
When to seek help
A little bit of memory loss can be a normal part of aging, but when memory loss becomes more noticeable, it’s time to seek help. Some examples of memory loss affecting your life, and signs that you should make a doctor’s appointment, include:
- Having trouble following conversations
- Getting lost in familiar areas
- Repeating the same questions over and over
- Vocabulary problems, like forgetting common words or mixing words up
- Misplacing things frequently
- Difficulty following directions
- Feeling confused more easily
Since there are many potential causes of memory loss, such as nutritional deficiencies and stress, you’ll want to start by visiting your primary care physician. From there, your doctor may refer you to a specialist, such as a neurologist, geriatrician, or psychologist, for further testing.
What to expect at the doctor’s office
At your doctor’s appointment, you’ll likely be screened for various health issues such as vitamin deficiencies, depression, and sleep disorders. Be prepared for questions about your family history, mood changes, sleep quality, medications that you take regularly, how often you drink alcohol, and if you’ve had any major life changes or injuries recently. Consider bringing someone with you, such as your spouse, who can help with answering questions about any behavioral or personality changes they have noticed.
To prepare for your appointment, it may be helpful to bring notes regarding your experiences with memory loss. Be sure to include details about when these problems started and how often you experience them. You can also ask a loved one to help you keep a symptom diary, or even use technology, like health monitoring apps, to help you keep track of your daily experiences.
Should I see a neurologist?
Your doctor will determine whether or not you should see a specialist, such as a neurologist, geriatrician, or psychologist. A neurologist is often suggested for those experiencing other symptoms aside from memory loss, such as:
- Trouble with balance
- Tremors or shaking
- Headache or migraine
- Personality changes
- Mood swings
During your appointment, a neurologist may order imaging tests of your brain, such as a CT scan or MRI. These tests can help in diagnosing or ruling out various neurological disorders.
Dealing with memory loss can be jarring and frightening, but there’s no need to avoid visiting the doctor out of anxiety. There are many reversible causes of memory loss, and when it comes to issues such as dementia, early intervention is crucial. Either way, visiting the doctor will give you peace of mind by providing answers, as well as connecting you with treatment options.
At Melrose Gardens, we’re proud to offer memory care services in our cozy and neighborhood-like senior living community. If you’re looking for memory care in the Los Angeles area for yourself or a loved one, and would like to learn more about us, click here to contact us today.