Is this just a ‘senior moment’ or am I losing my memory?

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It’s a question many people ask themselves as they get older and notice more frequent slips like forgetting the name of a new neighbour or misplacing their car keys or reading glasses.

Memory loss is a frightening prospect for most people. “We hear so much about Alzheimer’s disease but there isn’t as much awareness of what normal cognitive aging looks like. This can make it difficult for people to put their memory concerns in perspective,” says Dr. Nicole Anderson, a clinical neuropsychologist and senior scientist at Baycrest.

A new book by Dr. Anderson and two of her colleagues at Baycrest, clinical neuropsychologist Dr. Kelly Murphy and Dr. Angela Troyer, professional practice chief of psychology, describes what’s normal and what’s not when it comes to the memory changes we experience as we age.

Living with MCI: A Guide to Maximizing Brain Health and Reducing Risk of Dementia is a ground-breaking publication about mild cognitive impairment, a condition considered to be a border zone between normal age-related memory changes and the more serious cognitive decline that occurs with dementia.

Written for a general audience, and available at Oxford US, and Chapters/Indigo, the book features concrete examples to help readers decide whether or not their memory changes are within the normal range.

Normal changes
• Forgetting the name of your new neighbour
• Having difficulty remembering how to get to your new doctor’s office
• Telling your friend the same joke you told her last week

Changes that could point to MCI
• Forgetting for more than a moment the name of a close friend that you’ve known a long time
• Getting lost in a familiar place
• Repeating the same joke or anecdote during the same conversation

Dr. Anderson advises that if you’re concerned about your memory, talk to your doctor, and be sure to bring with you specific examples of the kinds of memory problems you’re experiencing.

Courtesy of Baycrest, the global leader in innovations, research and breakthroughs for the journey of aging.