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Memory Systems Impacted by Alzheimer’s

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Memory—the ability to process, store, recall, and utilize information when needed—is a complex function involving billions of neurons and multiple areas of the brain. Over time, the neurons involved in short-term memory formation, retention, and recall can shrink or become damaged by free radicals or the effects of high blood pressure and other diseases, which is why it becomes difficult to learn or recall information with age. Alzheimer’s is different in that it causes severe and progressive damage to multiple areas of the brain, which means it affects more than just short-term memory.

Episodic Memory

Episodic memory makes it possible to recall recent events and learn information. It’s controlled primarily by the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex—two of the first areas of the brain affected by Alzheimer’s disease—which is why individuals in the early stages of the disease may have difficulty remembering conversations from an hour before but can still remember vivid details about an event that occurred decades earlier.

If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, help is just a phone call away. There are many reasons seniors might need assistance at home. Some may require regular mental stimulation due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while others might only need part-time assistance with exercise and basic household tasks. Home Care Assistance is a leading Edmonton in-home care provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life.

Semantic Memory

As the name suggests, semantic memory involves language and the ability to remember general knowledge, information, and facts. Semantic memory is governed by the temporal lobes of the brain and various areas of the cortex. As Alzheimer’s affects these areas of the brain, seniors may be unable to recall the names of common objects, find the right word during a conversation, or separate items into categories.

Procedural Memory

This type of memory is primarily controlled by the cerebellum. People utilize procedural memory to learn tasks that become second nature, such as reading, writing, and other daily tasks. Procedural memory, also known as muscle memory, is normally one of the last areas affected by Alzheimer’s, which is why seniors with Alzheimer’s may still be able to dress themselves or perform other routine tasks independently long after they have lost the ability to remember other types of information.

Aging adults who need help managing mental and physical health issues can benefit from the assistance of a highly trained professional caregiver. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional senior home care. Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Working Memory

Working memory, which is also known as executive functioning, is governed by the prefrontal cortex. It’s this type of memory that enables people to concentrate, focus their attention, and recall information. Once Alzheimer’s starts to affect working memory, seniors may have difficulty recalling their addresses or phone numbers and performing tasks involving multiple steps.

Sensory Memory

Sensory memory provides people with brief recollections of things they’ve just experienced. It is sensory memory that enables people to recall what they’ve just seen, heard, smelled, tasted, or touched. An example of Alzheimer’s effects on sensory memory is that a senior may not be able to recall what he or she had for dinner immediately after finishing the meal.

Long-Term Memory

The effects of Alzheimer’s on long-term memory are normally seen in the later stages. Individuals with Alzheimer’s lose the ability to store information in their long-term memory banks. The disease also makes it difficult to retrieve information from long-term memory.

If you’re the primary caregiver for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, you don’t have to go through it alone. Without the right assistance, Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors and their families to manage. If you’re looking for professional Alzheimer’s care, Edmonton Home Care Assistance provides high-quality care aging adults and their families can count on. All of our hourly and live-in caregivers are trained to help seniors with Alzheimer’s live happier and healthier lives, and we also provide specialized dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. If you need in-home Alzheimer’s care for your loved one, our Care Managers are just a phone call away. Reach out to Home Care Assistance today at (780) 977-7379.