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Memory Loss in Older Adults

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 2, 2024.

What do I need to know about memory loss?

Some memory loss is common with aging. You may have sharp long-term memories from many years ago but have trouble remembering new information. Normal memory loss does not get worse and does not affect daily activities. Memory loss that gets worse over time or affects daily activities can be a sign of a serious medical problem, such as Alzheimer disease. Talk with your healthcare provider if you or someone close to you notices that your memory is worsening.

What are some signs and symptoms of memory loss that happens with aging?

What are some signs and symptoms of severe memory loss?

The following may be signs of a more serious health problem that needs treatment:

How is the cause of memory loss diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask you or someone close to you about your memory loss. Your healthcare provider will ask you questions to test your thinking, language, and memory functions. If your healthcare provider thinks you may have a severe memory problem, you may need other tests. Tell the provider if memory problems are new for you or started suddenly. Your provider will ask about any recent head injury, and about all the medicines you take. Include vitamins, supplements, over-the-counter medicines, and prescription medicines.

What can I do to manage memory loss?

Some memory loss cannot be treated, but you may be able to stop it from getting worse. Your healthcare provider may need to stop or change certain medicines you are taking, or change the dose. The provider may also recommend vitamins or supplements to help improve your memory. The following are ways to help manage memory loss:

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

What can I do to prevent my memory loss from getting worse?

When should I or someone close to me contact my healthcare provider?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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