As we get older it is not uncommon to be aware of a slight deterioration in memory. For the majority of individuals this amounts to no more than slight forgetfulness and does not progress to cause any significant impact on the ability to perform everyday tasks.
The onset of dementia due to for example Alzheimer’s disease is an insidious process and may go unrecognised for months, or even years. This is partly because of the fact that a change in cognitive status is a recognised, and even expected, consequence of normal ageing.
Some people do experience a progressive decline in their memory and other brain functions and eventually develop dementia. It is important to remember that many conditions can cause an upset of the memory and that not all individuals who have memory impairment have dementia.
For example stress or anxiety, fatigue, physical illness, medication, alcohol and bereavement can all have an adverse effect on memory function. It is important therefore not to jump to conclusions.
Individuals who are experiencing memory impairment should be assessed at an early stage to enable early identification of the underlying cause.
Glasgow Memory Clinic offers a free memory screening service for those over 60 who are concerned about memory decline and who are potentially interested in participating in our research program. Contact us for more information.