Lifestyles

Memory loss often a symptom of an affliction beyond just aging

As we age, some forgetfulness is natural and inevitable.

You might, for example, “lose” the car keys or other household objects, or forget where you heard something and/or who told you.

Those usually aren’t causes for concern.

But Kelowna families who are seeing their family members struggle with loss of memory, difficulty with day-to-day tasks, and changes in mood and behaviour, could be dealing with something more serious.

“People may think these symptoms are part of normal aging, but they aren’t,” explained Michelle Hallgren, the local support and education coordinator for Kelowna and the North Central Okanagan for the non-profit Alzheimer Society of B.C.

Those symptoms could well be indicators of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.

The health issues are becoming more common. Already, one in four Canadians has someone in their family with Alzheimer’s disease. And every five minutes a Canadian develops dementia.

“If you have concerns about your memory, or are concerned about someone else, it is important that you consult with your family doctor,” said Hallgren.

The society can also help local caregivers who are living with dementia.

It runs a free support and information group that serves as a forum for sharing practical tips and strategies for coping with the disease.

The group helps create support and friendship with others whose lives are affected by dementia.

It meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month.

For more information contact Michelle Hallgren toll-free at 1-800-634-3399, or mhallgren@alzheimerbc.org. For more information on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, visit the Alzheimer Society of B.C. website at www.alzheimerbc.org.

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