It happens to us all at some time or another- but as people age, they put a name to momentary memory lapses.
“Senior moments happen all the time at my age, you go from one end to the house to another and you forget what you came for,” says Robert Boone, who admits to having had a few.
New research suggests doctors rethink the way they approach senior moments. They could be an early indicator of a memory disorder.
“If it’s disturbed to the point that they are having problems with day to day life, forgetting the keys of the home or the car, then I actually do suggest that they should take care of their memory,” says Dr. Aboo Mannan, geriatrician with Lee Memorial Health System.
Reports presented at the most recent Alzheimer’s Association International Conference found people who self-reported memory issues, even if they had normal results on cognitive tests, had a higher risk of memory problems later in life. This may lead to closer observation.
Memory specialists may start with a look at language and visual assimilation then get a baseline MRI to look deeper into the mind.
“There’s a particular area in the brain, which is hippocampus, that is responsible for memory. And we can compare that visual MRI with different stages of life,” says Dr. Mannan.
Things to look out for: getting lost in familiar surroundings or forgetting recent events. Before you get too rattled- sometimes forgetfulness is just forgetfulness.
“When you go and get older, your mind is preoccupied with so many things, and that is one of the factors. You are forgetting. But I don't want to say that is memory loss,” says Dr. Mannan.
That comes as a relief for Boone.
“I just live with it and laugh about it,” says Boone.