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Memory Changes at 70
18 replies to this topic
Posted 17 August 2019 - 09:53 PM
I have noticed a few memory changes in my mum, who is about 70.
Do older people naturally lose a little memory, think slower than say when they are 40/50? Or are they always signs of dementia?
Posted 17 August 2019 - 10:11 PM
There is a condition called Mild Cognitive Impairment in which memory and some higher cognitive skills are reduced but the full criteria for dementia are not met. Some ppl progress to dementia, others continue with MCI. I don't think older people necessarily decline in their cognition (until right at the end maybe) though, as there are many examples of people getting PhD's in their 80s and beyond.
My mum is also in her 70s and she also forgets things I tell her and I know she has to write down what we talk about so she can remember to ask me about it next week. However it seems mild to me and she often does remember things and keeps very up to date with current affairs etc.
I always worry about her (any myself!) as my grandmother had dementia (preceded by MCI). I honestly think my own memory is worse than it was in my 20's/30's, and I also struggle these days as am so often multitasking and not really focussing on what I am being told.
I'd say keep an eye on it and encourage her to reach out if she needs help.
Posted 17 August 2019 - 10:26 PM
Yes, She was very sharp and had an excellent memory, so what might seem quite usual for some people.
Edited by LucyGoose, 22 August 2019 - 09:31 PM.
Posted 17 August 2019 - 11:01 PM
Have you spoken to her about it? Most people who have memory loss usually know themselves that their memory is slipping and try to compensate.
A visit to the GP is a good starting point, even just to get a baseline of her current condition.
Dementia Australia have lots of helpful information and resources on their website which might help you work out your next steps.
Hope that helps.
Posted 17 August 2019 - 11:22 PM
My mum is 70, and she’s certainly not as sharp as she was, but she is still working (well she went back to work when my dad retired).
Your mum forgetting that you have your ears pierced is really worrying, I think you should encourage her to have a check up with her GP.
Posted 17 August 2019 - 11:29 PM
I am sorry lucygoose, but I have to agree that this would concern me.
I don't have any experience with dementia but I think in your situation I would encourage a GP visit.
Edited by perthgal3, 17 August 2019 - 11:32 PM.
Posted 17 August 2019 - 11:48 PM
I was going to say I do think that most people's processing speed and memory starts to decrease slowly around that age. But I'm concerned by the example you later gave - that is more of an issue with long term memory. It would be good to chat with your mum about it and encourage her to see her GP to explore the issue.
Posted 18 August 2019 - 12:19 AM
I'm 70. Wonder what my kids think? Anyway I'm pretty sure that 'seniors moments' are experienced by all around a certain age but we can still be pretty sharp and often amazed at things we do remember when partaking in quizzes/trivia nights etc.
I agree with PP who suggested that there is probably a point where the person themselves might feel that they are experiencing something more than just seniors moments and that they are feeling somehow constant problems as opposed to occasional moments mixed with general 'cleverness'.
Posted 18 August 2019 - 05:05 AM
I have a family member being diagnosed with dementia at the moment. She admits to me she forgets stuff but won’t admit it to her daughters or husband or GP. And she is not a difficult person in any way. My experience does not match up with PPs about the older person acknowledging their memory loss.
In the end her daughters had to make an appointment with her GP and tell them all the things they’re seeing so he could insist on more testing.
There are treatments available so it is never best to wait and see with dementia. It could be something else too.
Posted 18 August 2019 - 05:39 AM
Some memory loss and cognitive impairment isn't unusual as we age. Your example implies that it's somewhat sudden or has come on quickly. In that case, a visit to her GP would be a good idea. Would she be ok with you accompanying her?
So many things can cause memory loss, from Alzheimer's, dementia, stroke, medication, etc. I'd want to rule them out.
Posted 18 August 2019 - 09:04 AM
Generally it is harder for people to learn and remember new things (especially if not doing so all of the time), but old, established memories are less likely to decline.
So forgetting a well established story and subsequent events would concern me, but forgetting something that was said recently would not.
I'd chat to her GP. Could be nothing, could be something. For mum, we had something similar and it was a new medication she had been put on. Her GP took her off that and she was back to her usual self.
Posted 18 August 2019 - 09:30 AM
At 66, I would be far more concerned about forgetting something about my 27 yo that had existed for decades, rather than forgetting something that happened last week.
Is your Dad still around, or is she in a relationship with someone? A quiet word with them might be worthwhile, to see if they've noticed changes. I do think it's harder if you're constantly with someone to notice subtle changes, but that's not too subtle.
After going through this with two parents, it's not difficult after a while to differentiate between plain forgetfulness, and dementia.
You could try to subtlety see if she can still write dollar amounts correctly - that's when I knew my MIL had turned a corner, she couldn't actually write the amount her house sold for - admittedly it was a weird figure with lots of ones and zeros, but she then kept saying no one had told her what she'd 'won'.
Another is mistaking similar things - ask my mother for a light bulb and she'd fetch some batteries. You can see the connection, but she couldn't see what was wrong with what she'd offered.
If you've got a good relationship, and you think she'd be open to the discussion, talk to her about the possibility that it may be something fixable, or even something that may warrant close attention, like a TIA.
We got my MIL to agree for someone to go with her to the doctor (fierce independence can often lead to people refusing, insisting they can 'manage'), with the sound logic that a second pair of ears were useful for anyone, to make a note of what's being said.
Sneakily, that also allowed me (I took her to her appointments) to ring beforehand to let the doctor know about anything she might try to avoid in the consultation.
Posted 18 August 2019 - 09:49 AM
Thanks for all of the replies. I have seen a few little things, but this was the largest one.
Other things are less obvious whether she was really listening.
She would take offence and I don’t feel I could bring it up with her. She would not want me attending a GP appointment. My Dad was there, and part of the conversation, so I’m going to talk to him about it.
She could have changed medication or not be sleeping well.
Posted 18 August 2019 - 09:58 AM
Just be aware, your dad could be hiding it too. Either consciously or subconsciously.
Posted 18 August 2019 - 09:59 AM
Yes, she is married and my Dad would do something if he was concerned. But as you say - he might be too close to notice.
Posted 18 August 2019 - 01:09 PM
The Dementia Australia website is an excellent resource with significant amounts of information and advice, plus a help line.
This page in particular might help:
At the bottom they talk about ACAT (or ACAS) which is also a good idea. You parents may be astonished at that idea. Even my mother and MIL took some convincing and they were 95 & 90. We sold the idea to them as seeing what services they were entitled to, rather than someone coming to assess how 'bad' they were. Your mother being post-war hopefully won't have the attitudes of the previous generation, who are almost universally convinced someone's trying to 'shove' them into a nursing home, if you're trying to get assessments sorted.
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