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Normal for aging women to have occasional memory lapse?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 2011
Answered : 4584 Questions
I am worried about my moms aging memory. She gets distracted and yesterday when I told her my niece had been to the doctor and everything was good (talking about a problem pregnancy) she said well, I can't wait for that baby to be born! I rem ended her that she had been born last week! she then said...Oh I knew that! She went on to talk about her name, pictures, and remembered it all. Does this happen with 80 yr. Olds?
Posted Tue, 24 Apr 2012 in Brain and Spine
Answered by Dr. Aashish Raghu 19 minutes later

Thanks for the query.

Does your mother have any problem in moving around, any tremors of hands

Does she have difficulty pronouncing words, naming objects, recognising persons faces

Has she changed the way she keeps herself, dresses herself etc.

It appears that recent memory has been of some impairment in your mother's case. This can be seen in certain situations which can be varied like Alzheimer's disease, Parkinsonism, different types of dementia as well.

If she has difficulty in naming objects, recognising people she knows it could be possible Alzheimer's disease which can manifest at her age. When she is made aware that she may be having concentrating or memory problem then she may try to make up for the situation by talking about less relevant topics to divert attention. This is possible in Alzheimer's disease especially in early onset.

In some cases there will be difficulty in walking, difficulty in keeping clean, changing clothes etc.

You will need to get her examined by her Neurologist to rule out the various causes of possible dementia which may be setting in at this age.

Keep her well nourished with diet XXXXXXX in proteins, fresh fruits and XXXXXXX leafy vegetables. Keep her well hydrated as well which is extremely important for aged persons.

Prevent accidents for her as much as possible, do help her around the house when you can.

Avoid pointing it out that she could be wrong or has misunderstood as this can contribute to depressive feelings in her.

She will need your support most of all. Do help her out as much as possible.

Do not delay in taking her to the Doctor and getting her a complete evaluation.

There are good medication to retard the progression of Alazheimer's disease to an extent which will help her be functional to an acceptable degree.

I hope I have answered your query. I will be available to answer your follow up queries.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Normal for aging women to have occasional memory lapse? 1 hour later
But I think you misunderstood when I said that once I reminded her, she remembered it all even the baby's name and what she looked like in the pictures. The memory was definitely there, it was like she just forgot for a minute then it all came back. I thought in alzheimerswould the memory was never formed.
Answered by Dr. Aashish Raghu 5 hours later
Thanks for the follow up.

The fact of the matter is persons with Alzheimer's will tend to forget what they just heard or even said. Even if she does remember everything, she can forget what she heard you say as well. Basically memories are no longer converted to long term memories but stay in the realm of recent and short term memory to some extent.

There is even disruption of Episodic memory like forgetting personal events like wedding day, birthday etc. although once reminded will get it all back that instant.

Memories do get formed but they are not consolidated. Especially in the early stages the memory starts dwindling and not disappears all of a sudden.

Do get her a Neurological consult to get a proper diagnosis and management plan for her problem.

Wishing you good health.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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