Years ago, it was believed that memory loss was natural in the aging process and that there was little you could do to prevent it. Thankfully, science has progressed since then, and we now know that many of the most common myths about memory loss can be avoided through healthy lifestyle choices and medical treatment options when necessary. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common myths about memory loss and show concrete ways to improve your memory regardless of your age or stage in life.
Myth #1: Alzheimer’s Disease Is the Only Cause of Memory Loss
Simply put, Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that causes memory loss and other issues. But many conditions can cause memory loss, and what you experience might not be due to Alzheimer’s or dementia at all. A brain injury, stroke, tumor, or infection can also lead to memory loss. Many myths and fears surround Alzheimer’s and dementia, but these conditions don’t have to carry a stigma or reputation for hopelessness. The bottom line is that there are many different types of memory loss – most of which are treatable – so it’s important to know what you might be dealing with before jumping to conclusions about your condition.
Myth #2: Memory Loss and Dementia Are Inevitable
Just because memory loss is inevitable doesn’t mean you can’t do something about it. To start, you need to debunk some common myths about memory loss and dementia, like assuming that getting older inevitably means a debilitating level of forgetfulness or that memory loss is always associated with physical symptoms. You can also combat myths by learning more about how to detect Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia early on—the longer you wait, the harder it is to manage your condition. If you or someone you know might be suffering from these conditions, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Myth #3: Dementia Is Any Form of Forgetfulness
If you’re worried about memory loss, it’s important to understand that every person is different, and there are a lot of factors that can contribute to changes in your memory. For example, people who have done poorly in school aren’t necessarily struggling with their memories. People who are more intelligent or highly educated are actually at an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease. It all comes down to our brains and how they work: Many things can cause our brains not to function as well as they once did.
Myth #4: People Who Suffer from Memory Loss Suffer from Obliviousness and Forget Everything
People with memory loss typically still have a basic idea of who they are and something is wrong. They are aware of their decline in abilities, but they often feel frustrated by having to work harder to accomplish even simple tasks. It’s normal for individuals with memory loss to get frustrated with themselves, especially if they don’t realize what’s happening and why it’s so hard to do things that used to be easy. Keeping an upbeat attitude—and getting plenty of support from family and friends—can help make people with memory loss feel more comfortable and hopeful about their situation.
Myth #5: A Loss of Memory Translates into a Loss of Quality of Life
Having trouble remembering something isn’t necessarily a sign of memory loss. If you’re having trouble remembering things like names or appointments but still remember what they mean, that’s completely normal—and has nothing to do with memory loss. For example, it could be that you know your friend’s name is Jim but can’t come up with it right away—it’s probably just due to absentmindedness and not memory loss at all.