When to Worry About Memory Loss

People forget things all the time; and the older you get, the more it happens. So how do you know when memory loss is something more serious?

Warning Signs

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are 10 warning signs to look for:

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks
  4. Confusion with time or place
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and special relationships
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  8. Decreased or poor judgment
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities
  10. Changes in mood and personality

Normal Behavior

Here’s a helpful chart from the Alzheimer’s Association to determine what’s normal and what’s not:

Signs of Alzheimer’s/DementiaTypical Age-Related Changes
Poor judgement and decision markingMaking a bad decision once in a while
Inability to manage a budgetMissing a monthly payment
Losing track of the date or the seasonForgetting which day it is and remembering later
Difficulty having a conversationSometimes forgetting which word to use
Misplacing things and being unable to retrace steps to find themLosing things from time to time

For more tips on identifying the signs of Alzheimer’s and dementia, refer to “Is it Alzheimer’s or Just Signs of Aging” from the Alzheimer’s Association.

Getting Support

If you think your loved one is showing signs of dementia, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following steps:

  • Talk with your loved one about your concerns.
  • Identify what activities might be unsafe for your loved one; like driving, managing finances, or remembering to take daily medication.
  • Schedule an appointment for your loved one with a medical provider you trust and attend the appointment with them to share your concerns.
  • Set-up a family meeting to discuss next steps; and ask the hard questions, including advanced medical directives and estate plans.

As with any disease, early detection is key to slowing or stopping the progression of the illness. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s but there are medications that will slow progression and reduce symptoms of the disease.

How You Can Help

In recognition of Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, the Alzheimer’s Association holds an annual awareness event on June 21. “The Longest Day” brings people from all over the world together to fight the darkness of Alzheimer’s and raise funds and awareness for the care, support, and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Profiles in Leadership

Meet NOAH Board Member Dr. Kim Perry

Dr. Kimberly Perry
Dr. Kim Perry, NOAH Board Secretary

Get to know Dr. Kim Perry, what she brings to the NOAH board of directors and what she hopes to accomplish while serving in this capacity.

Q. When did you join the NOAH Board of Directors?

A. I joined the NOAH Board of Directors in 2021. When I first moved to Arizona, I attended the opening of a NOAH Health Center and was very impressed with the facility and the warm welcome from the staff.

Q. Why are you interested in supporting community health?

A. Having grown up in a very underserved community in New Jersey, I’ve always had an interest in community health. Early in my career, I served as the inaugural dean for A.T. Still University’s Missouri School of Dentistry and Oral Health. We developed a partnership with Affinia Healthcare (the FQHC) where students had the opportunity to provide dental services to medically underserved patients in a 92-chair dental clinic. It was in this experience that I realized how many people benefit from Community Health. I was inspired to continue this work as a board member for a Community Health Center that supports oral health care.

Q. What specifically about NOAH motivated you to want to get involved at this level with the organization?

A. I find NOAH to be a very warm and welcoming organization and I appreciate that. I’m interested in serving a group that’s moving the dial for patients who need oral and mental healthcare in addition to overall health.

Q. What do you like about working with your fellow board members?

A. I like that people respect what you bring to the table. A lot of groups talk about diversity, but don’t actually listen to what everyone has to say. The NOAH board and leadership are diverse, representative of the population we serve, and genuinely interested in the expertise everyone provides.

Q. What do you hope to collectively accomplish during your term on the board?

I would love to see us transition out of this COVID-19 pandemic having done the very best we can in helping our patients.

I’d also like to do more advocacy work to help get through some of the financial hurdles we know impact patients and community health centers. From a broad perspective, this might be educating our community about issues to make informed decisions on public leaders or supporting efforts to address public needs in other ways.

Q. What does NOAH’s Board of Directors provide for the organization, staff, patients, and the community?

A. The board supports the executive team and other NOAH staff, while ensuring patient safety in reaching the population health goals for the communities we serve.

It is important to respect the skillset and knowledge of the NOAH team as well as understand the needs of the community so that when we make board decisions, they are informed decisions.

I feel it’s also our responsibility to ask questions. Organizations should want people on the board who ask those uncomfortable questions. When you get those questions answered, it gives people an opportunity to explain their thought process and puts us all on the same page that allows the board to move forward in a manner consistent with our responsibilities and the mission of NOAH.

I’m a supportive person who wants to understand the big picture and the overall details. Trusting the people who present us with that information is critical; which is why it’s so important to build real relationships with the board and leadership.

Q. What part of the community that NOAH serves matters to you the most personally?

A. I am passionate about helping vulnerable and underserved populations. Whether it’s elderly patients, those with disabilities, or people who face inequality due to race or gender; I think of the patients who don’t have the resources or insurance for healthcare. They come to NOAH for comprehensive oral and overall care and they know that NOAH is a place for them.

The NOAH Board of Directors is a diverse group of volunteers who contribute to the mission of transforming the health of our community. Patients from the communities we serve make up 51% of our board. Learn more about NOAH’s board of directors and how they drive the organization.