Alzheimer’s & the Different Types of Memory

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The most common characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease is the way it affects memory. However, not all types of memory are affected equally by this condition. While there are some exceptions, there tends to be a natural progression when it comes to the types of memory impacted by Alzheimer’s, discussed below in the order in which they’re typically affected.

Short-Term Memory

Short-term memory refers to the ability to retain newly acquired memories. During the early stages of the disease, you may notice your senior loved one is unable to recall what he or she had for breakfast or the details of recent in-person or phone conversations. Signs of short-term memory loss may also include:

  • An inability to follow the plots of TV programs or movies
  • Losing track of where items were recently placed
  • Forgetting certain tasks were already completed (e.g., the bills were already mailed or the garbage was already taken out)

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 Fort Myers elderly home care provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life.

Episodic Memory

Episodic memory is the ability to recall specific events and experiences from your own life. It’s a type of long-term memory that tends to slowly deteriorate over time in older adults with Alzheimer’s. Examples of episodic memory lapses that may be noticeable in those with Alzheimer’s includ:

  • Not remembering family trips or vacations
  • Forgetting when they got married or the details of their first kisses
  • Not recognizing older friends they haven’t seen in a while
  • Not recalling where they were during certain memorable events, such as when their spouses died or when President Kennedy was shot—a type of episodic memory known as “flashbulb memory”

Aging adults who need help managing mental and physical health issues can benefit from the assistance of a highly trained professional caregiver. If your senior loved one needs professional in-home care, Home Care Assistance is here to help. We are a trusted provider of respite and 24-hour care, and we also offer specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, and stroke care for seniors.

Semantic Memory

Semantic memory is another type of long-term memory that tends to be affected during the later stages of the disease. It’s sometimes referred to as “common knowledge” memory because it involves things such as the names of everyday foods and colors. Basic facts acquired throughout life, such as the capitals of well-known countries and major historical events, are part of the brain’s semantic memory. If your loved one has reached a point where semantic memory is affected, you may notice the following memory-related difficulties:

  • Being unable to identify the words for foods he or she wants to eat
  • Being confused about major events that happened during his or her lifetime, such as World War II, the Vietnam War, or 9/11
  • Not knowing what a dog or cat is
  • Being unable to tell what rain or snow is
  • Not knowing the purpose of a spoon, knife, or fork

Procedural Memory

During the later stages of Alzheimer’s, procedural memory is usually seriously affected. This is the type of memory needed to perform tasks that used to be routine. For instance, your loved one might forget how to ride a bike, cook food properly, or tie his or her shoes. Alzheimer’s also eventually affects parts of the brain responsible for:

  • Reasoning and logic
  • Attention
  • Language abilities

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, Fort Myers 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 your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at 239.449.4701.