Psychological Services

Dementia and Aging:
Memory Symptoms Suggesting the Need for Evaluation

Memory problems are most often the first sign of dementia and the risk of less than graceful aging.

Memory signs that may appear in your loved one or parents:

  • Retaining few facts in day to day life such as who they talked to, what was said in conversations and so on.
  • Forgetting doctor appointments, lunch dates, arrangements or promises made
  • Conversations are not completed due to loss of the necessary words to finish one’s sentence
  • Confusion on the year, holidays, recent memories

If you are questioning the memory of your loved one or yourself, ask the following questions:

Day-to-Day Memory Issues

  • Is it hard for you to make a decision?
  • Do you have difficulty taking action?
  • Do you lose keys, checkbook, etc.?

Detecting cognitive or thinking changes; the importance of the Sundowning syndrome:

  • Realization that memory deficits may not appear until the sun goes down
  • This means that people tend to look better at the beginning of the day and worse at the end
  • Do not assume that someone is fine if you are only seeing them during the daytime hours.

Memory loss can occur with so many disorders; however, it may be one of the primary symptoms for the following:

  • Sleep apnea
  • Alzheimer’s dementia
  • Cardiovascular dementia
  • Certain medications
  • Vitamin B deficiency
  • Poor diet, low blood sugar
  • Thyroid problems1
  • Sleep deprivation, insomnia

1 Fisher, B., Ed., (2006) Attention Deficit Disorder, Practical Coping Mechanisms Second Edition Informa Health Care, New York, NY.