Forgetting what day it is or misplacing an item could be nothing more than simply part of getting older. But there are signs of memory loss and confusion that indicate early stages of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
Similar to other body parts, the brain changes in structure and ability as people get older, Susann Varano, MD, geriatrician at Maplewood Senior Living, says. “This is cognitive aging and it begins at birth.” It affects attention, problem solving, and learning.
Many sleep disorders and other conditions – sleep apnea, depression, chronic pain, anxiety, and even medications – can affect one’s mental functioning, Dr. Varano says.
“Tylenol PM, for example, has Benadryl, which can dampen your brain.” It can make you feel as if you really have dementia when you don’t, she adds.