When Should I Worry About Memory Loss?

As we age, memories can become more elusive. We compensate. Lists on the refrigerator. Reminders to ourselves. Sticky notes all over.

But what happens when memory loss begins to disrupt our daily lives? When we have difficulty completing familiar tasks? When we have trouble retracing our steps? Where can you turn for knowledgeable and confidential counsel, and emotional support, on what lies ahead?

That’s where the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado can help. The Association and its free 24/7 Helpline (800-272-3900) are the best source for confidential information from professional counselors trained to help with questions about memory loss and what steps individuals – or family members – can take to determine if the issue could be related to dementia or another, more routine cause.

“There are a number of factors that could play a role in memory loss, ranging from nutritional deficiencies, stress and changes in medications to severe events such as a stroke,” said Cara Oberheide, senior manager of Family Services for the Colorado Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. “All memory loss isn’t necessarily a sign of Alzheimer’s disease, so we always recommend that people speak with their family doctor.”

The counselors on the Alzheimer’s Association Helpline can field questions in more than 200 languages, and can direct callers to resources in their community. If, ultimately, the diagnosis is Alzheimer’s, Helpline staff can provide connections to an extensive network of services and information resources available that can help families.

Alzheimer’s Association services
While the programs and services of the Alzheimer’s Association are provided at no charge to persons living with Alzheimer’s and their families, they are invaluable for those in need of support. Information and services that can be accessed through the toll-free Helpline include:• 10 signs for early detection of Alzheimer’s

  • Getting a diagnosis and referrals to diagnostic clinicians
  • Understanding symptoms and progression of the different types of dementia
  • Information about treatment options
  • Referrals to clinical studies through the Association’s TrialMatch® program
  • Local programming for people with early stage memory loss
  • Setting up a confidential care consultation in our offices or by phone with trained Alzheimer’s Association staff
  • Referrals to local community programs and services
  • Guidance on how to enhance communication and respond to behavioral changes
  • Referrals to support groups and message boards where other families discuss their challenges and possible solutions
  • Legal, financial and living-arrangement considerations
  • Provide research information in the areas of diet and nutrition, exercise, cognitive activity and social engagement
  • Referrals to in-person and online education programs for caregivers about a variety of topics related to Alzheimer’s and other dementias
  • Help in a caller’s preferred language using our translation service that features more than 200 languages and dialects

More than 73,000 Coloradoans are living with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, a total projected to soar to 92,000 by 2025. Those individuals are supported by nearly a quarter of a million volunteer caregivers.

Of those affected by dementia, nearly two-thirds are women. African-Americans are twice as likely as whites to be diagnosed, and Hispanic-Latinos are 50 percent more likely to receive a diagnosis than whites.

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