Mayo Clinic Q&A on Memory Loss

Recently, the Mayo Clinic News Network put out an interesting article about signs of memory loss based on a question from one of their readers. Are you wondering about a loved one’s memory? Take a read and learn about possible changes in memory and steps to take:

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: My mom is in her 80s, and I’ve noticed that her memory seems to be slipping. Sometimes she forgets a person’s name or can’t recall what she did the day before. Is it normal to have these types of lapses at her age or should I be worried they are signs of something more serious?

ANSWER: It is understandable that you are concerned about changes in your mother’s memory. Memory lapses and modest decline in thinking skills are common as people age. There’s a difference, however, between normal changes in memory and  associated with  such as Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy body dementia. And some memory problems are the result of treatable conditions.

It may help to think of  as running on a continuum, with each person’s memory and cognitive functioning falling somewhere along it. Some people have sharp memories and can recall even the smallest details, while others struggle to remember big events. Memory changes can be viewed as movement along this continuum.

Minor changes in memory as a person ages are considered normal. This includes misplacing reading glasses or occasionally having difficulty finding the right word. These situations are common and within the range of normal memory changes. These types of lapses don’t interfere with daily life and are not considered signs of dementia.

Mild cognitive impairment is a larger change along the memory continuum. This occurs if a person is experiencing memory changes in addition to cognitive changes, such as thinking or reasoning skills. Symptoms could include short-term memory problems, repeating conversations and questions, and increased reliance on lists. However, people with mild cognitive impairment usually can manage their own finances, medications and household chores, and drive without concern.

For some people,  does not worsen. Their memory and function remain constant for the rest of their lives. For others, it is an early symptom of a neurodegenerative condition such as Alzheimer’s disease.

You may be concerned that your mother is developing dementia. It’s important to know that dementia is not a specific disease, but rather a group of symptoms that affects memory, thinking and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily life. Unfortunately, dementia has a negative connotation. What it really means is that a person’s brain function is impaired enough that the person cannot live alone and requires help with some daily tasks. Memory loss that disrupts daily life is one of the first and more recognizable signs of dementia.

Other early signs can include:

    • Asking the same questions repeatedly.
    • Forgetting common words when speaking.
    • Mixing words up, such as saying “bed” instead of “table.”
    • Taking longer to complete familiar, simple tasks, such as operating a microwave or washing machine.
    • Being unable to perform complex tasks with many steps, such as following a recipe or playing a board game.
    • Misplacing items in inappropriate places, such as putting a wallet in the refrigerator.
    • Getting confused while walking or driving in a familiar area.
    • Transposing numbers, such as when balancing a checkbook or dialing a telephone number.
    • Limiting participation in conversations.

I recommend that you schedule an appointment for your mother with a memory care expert. Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions cannot be diagnosed by completing a one-time memory test.

Regardless of diagnosis, here are a few things that you can do to help your mother’s memory:

    • Encourage independence and purpose. Every person wants to feel purposeful, so help your mother remain active and performing  for as long as possible. You may need to modify some activities. For example, labeling cabinet doors or writing instructions for household appliances can provide a sense of independence.
    • Foster social interaction. Research has shown that regular social interaction slows cognitive decline. However, when people start to have memory problems, they often pull back socially to avoid embarrassment. Schedule social time with a small, safe group who is familiar with your mother so she doesn’t need to worry or feel self-conscious about repeating stories or asking questions.
    • Talk about preferences. Some people want to know if they have already asked a question or be gently reminded. This could agitate others. Ask her which option is preferred and recognize that this could shift as conditions change. Identify a way to confirm that she would like help. A simple nod or finger flick could signify that it is OK to lend support or assistance.
    • Create a predictable and soothing environment. Establishing and strengthening routine habits and minimizing memory-demanding tasks can make life easier for all. Keep her keys, purse and regularly used items in the same place. Post a large calendar in a common area to track daily schedules and appointments. Remove excess clutter to create a restful environment.
    • Encourage exercise. Your mom may not be able to run a marathon anymore, but regular movement improves blood flow, moderates mood and improves sleep. Gardening, walking and dancing are low-impact, safe activities for many people.
    • Plan healthy meals. People with memory concerns may forget to eat, lose interest in preparing meals or not eat a healthy combination of foods. Make every calorie beneficial by planning nutritionally dense meals that are rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, fish, healthier fats, and herbs or seeds.

It can be challenging to cope with cognitive and memory changes. Remember to surround yourself with a care team that includes neurology, neuropsychology and psychiatry, as well as other practitioners who can offer more advice.

Learn more about Cadbury Commons Memory Care >

2022 Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Greater Boston

Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Register / Volunteer

Are you passionate about putting an end to Alzheimer’s? Are you looking for ways to give back? Would you like to meet new people while supporting a great cause? The Alzheimer’s Association is moving forward with planning for October’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s which is the world’s largest event to fight Alzheimer’s. Details below about how to register, volunteer, or simply attend to cheer on in the Greater Boston area.

Schedule of Events:
Walkers Welcome & Route Opens at 8:30 a.m. | Ceremony at 10 a.m. | Walk begins after Ceremony

Location:
DCR North Point Park | 6 Museum Way Cambridge, MA 02141 | Map it
Route Length:

Contact:
Melissa Shirtcliff | 617.393.2094 | [email protected]

General Information:
Where do the funds go?
All funds raised through Walk to End Alzheimer’s further the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. The Alzheimer’s Association is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. All donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.

Do I have to register in order to Walk?
Yes, we want to know you’re walking with us and need every participant to sign a standard waiver through their official registration. There is no registration fee for Walk. However, we ask every participant to make a personal donation and commit to raising funds in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

Do I need to register my children for Walk?
Yes, children should register. Parents/guardians can register children online or complete an offline registration form and sign the waiver on behalf of the child.

Does every participant get a T-shirt?
Every registered participant who achieves the fundraising minimum of $150 will receive an official Walk to End Alzheimer’s T-shirt via USPS. To receive a shirt in time for Walk day, participants must raise the T-shirt minimum at least four weeks prior to the event.

How do I get my offline donations to show up on my personal fundraising web page?
Donations can be made offline by submitting a check or money order by mail or hand-delivering to the local Alzheimer’s Association office. Be sure to include your offline donation form, which can be found in your Participant Center or on your fundraising web page, to make sure you receive credit for the donation. Donations typically take one to two weeks to show up on your web page. Don’t want to wait? You can also deposit checks directly to your Walk page from the Walk to End Alzheimer’s mobile app for iPhone or Android.

Event Specifics
Will there be COVID-19 safety measures in place at Walk?
The health and safety of our participants, staff and volunteers are our top priorities. Walk events will be designed with this in mind including a venue layout that allows for physical distancing, hand sanitizer stations, contactless registration and more. The Association will continue to closely monitor Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local guidelines and make adjustments to our event-day safety protocols as needed.

Are pets, strollers, bicycles and skates allowed on Walk day?
We do allow strollers, but for everyone’s safety, we discourage skateboards, bicycles, inline skates and wheelie footwear. Depending on the Walk location rules, well-behaved dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash at all times.

What happens if it rains?
Walk is a rain or shine event. However, in the case of severe weather, we will cancel. If this is the case, we will update our Walk homepage on or before the morning of the event.

We need volunteers! Know anyone who might be interested in helping us on the day of the event?
We need volunteers to help with set-up, clean-up, registration, water stops, Promise Garden and so much more. All interested volunteers should visit our volunteer page for more information about event day roles and responsibilities.

How do I get a Promise Garden Flower?
Each registered participant will receive a Promise Garden flower. Please choose the color that best represents your connection to the disease.

Blue represents someone living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia
Purple is for those who have lost a someone to the disease.
Yellow represents someone who is currently supporting or caring for a person living with Alzheimer’s.
Orange is for those who support the cause and the Association’s vision of a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia.

Still have questions?

Check out our FAQs page, or contact:
Coordinator: Melissa Shirtcliff
Phone: 617.393.2094
Email: [email protected]

Consider joining the Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Greater Boston Facebook page>

Learn about Cadbury Commons’ Memory Care Program >

Alzheimer's dining out

Dining out with Alzheimer’s: Purple Table Reservations Copy

Dining out with Alzheimer’s Isn’t a Piece of Cake

Going out to dine at a restaurant should be an enjoyable and relaxing experience with friends and family.  Sometimes, however, it can be difficult when a loved one is suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia or other cognitive or physical impairments. If servers and restaurant staff are not prepared, it can be a frustrating or even embarrassing time. Often caregivers will opt out of going to restaurants to avoid stigma or hassle. Purple Table wanted to change this!

What is the Purple Table Service?

The service is the brainchild of owner Jennifer Apazicis, whose mother, Linda, died from Alzheimer’s disease in 2013. The Purple Table Reservation flag and restaurant training program are designed for those who are living with Dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease, Autism, PTSD, TBI, a hearing or vision impairment, or other physical or cognitive condition that may benefit from a more predictable environment and additional accommodations when dining out.

“Someone who maybe has a child with autism, someone who maybe has a hearing impairment or someone who has a service dog — there’s a lot of things that can make the restaurant experience stressful,” said Apazicis. “Anyone that makes a purple table reservation just needs extra patience, a quieter area and extra love from their server.”

A little extra patience and understanding go a long way.

When you make a Purple Table reservation, no details are necessary (unless you choose to provide them), because the restaurant and staff do everything possible to ensure your dining experience is an enjoyable success.  They will provide appropriate accommodations with extra patience and attention from trained staff who understand your needs and how to accommodate them.

Restaurants that are offer Purple Table Reservations receive staff training from the organization and can then advertise this service to customers. Establishments that are ready to commit, can also access to an online training tool kit. In all of the popular reservation systems, restaurants can add custom amenity and reservation flags, so that Purple Tables will integrate seamlessly.

How to Make Reservations

Diners can make reservations directly from an app (Android) or, when you’re out and about, simply look for the “Purple Table Reservations Accepted” decal displayed in a window.

Show Your Support

If you have a favorite restaurant in your neighborhood, consider suggesting they look into Purple Table. It’s a win-win for people with memory care issues and their companions who want a smooth dining experience and restaurants that want to court new customers.  Show your support by sharing the Purple Table logo and website on social media. Or just spread the word with #PurpleTables#ASeatForEveryone

Learn about Cadbury Commons’ Memory Care Program >