Memory Loss & Dementia

What is it? How does it happen?

Memory loss can occur for a myriad of reasons. It is most common in the elderly population; 80% of octogenarians have memory loss. Dementia is memory loss caused by an underlying neurodegenerative condition. There are many types of dementia, the most common of which is Alzheimer’s Dementia. 

Dementia is much like watching the effects of time on an old barn: it becomes a shell, and it does not function the way it once did. Such, unfortunately, becomes the case for dementia patients, as they become a shell of their former selves, their brain no longer able to function the way it once did. Dementia will continue to progress with time.

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What Does Dementia feel like?

Signs and symptoms

Progressive Memory Loss, which may manifest as:

  • Forgetting to pay bills
  • Neglecting household responsibilities and maintenance
  • Burning food, leaving on the stove/oven
  • Getting lost in familiar neighborhoods
  • Poor job performance
  • Forgetting names & faces
  • Personality changes
  • Changes in sleep quality and habits
  • Losing track of date or time

Who typically gets it?

Risk Factors

The neuropathologic hallmarks of Alzheimer’s Dementia include the build up of metabolites in the brain tissue, called plaques and tangles. The cause is not yet completely elucidated, though this is an area of active research.


As we approach and surpass 65 years of age, the risk of dementia increases. This is a risk factor which is unavoidable.

Head Injury

Head Injury may predispose an individual to dementia. In fact, a multitide of memory problems are associated with multiple head traumas, as they are cumulative over an individual's life.

Environmental Factors

This is another area of active research. Multiple environmental factors are implicated, including diet, exercise, viral/bacterial infections, pollution, to name a few. It seems likely that a combination of environmental factors may trigger the dementia disease pathway.


For most patients, genetics contribute to an increased risk of dementia, rather than causing dementia. This is important, because it seems the genes "set the stage" for dementia, and likely an envirnomental combination of factors activate the disease pathway.

Heart Disease

Since the heart and the brain are connected through a network of blood vessels, heart disease makes brain diseases of many types more likely. There is a correlation between cardiac disease and Alzheimer's Dementia.

What can be done if I have dementia?

Treatment Options

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Memory Preserving Medications

These medications aim to preserve the memories remaining and slow the progression of memory loss.

Allied Therapies

It may be useful to consider cognitive therapy, biofeedback, psychology/psychiatry referrals, based on your specific needs.


This is a PhD who specializes in cognitive testing and diagnosis, and may be very helpful in cases of early onset dementia, consideration of dementia mimics, and multiple dementia types.

Caring for the Caregiver

The most important aspect of treatment and care for the dementia patient is the caretaker. This is an important conversation to begin early, even if it may seem too soon, in order to fully understand the patient and family's wishes. In the early stages, this may be checking in with the family member daily, but it will eventually progress to one of many situations: moving in with them, arranging for round-the-clock home nursing staff, assisted living facilities, nursing facility with a dementia unit. The best choice for your family member is likely going to be unique for each family, and it is important to have your specific need in mind, as well.

Caregiver fatigue is a very real concern. No matter how you choose to care for your family member, be certain it is sustainable and healthy for all involved.

How can MIND help?

Our Services

Not only do we consult on your case to perform a Root Cause Analysis, we will look for additional ways to maintain good quality of life and mental acuity as long as possible.


We specialize in lifestyle changes tailored to patients with dementia. Small changes can make a big difference- and we don't believe in sacrificing flavor.


30 minutes per day, 5 days per week. Let us help figure out a plan that appeals to you! (Hint: it shouldn't hurt!)


We do believe certain medications get the job done and are necessary, but we believe in low and slow dosing when appropriate, and will always take your preferences into account.

Complementary Therapies

This may include supplements, acupuncture, yoga, massage, or others, and is tailored to your comfort level.

The Bottom Line

Dementia is a progressive neurodegenerative condition, meaning the disease process will continue to progress over time. 

There is no cure for dementia, but early diagnosis is paramount. There is good evidence to show that early intervention can lead to preserved quality of life and longer memory retention.