Certain Medications May Affect Your Memory

January 15th, 2019 by John Wilson

Memory loss and aging seem to go to hand in hand. After all, so many aspects of bodily health, including brain function and activity, begin to shift as you get older. However, not all forms of memory loss are natural or normal.


Each year, hundreds of seniors begin to experience memory issues as a result of medications prescribed to them to treat other health problems, creating an unfortunate and unwanted trade off. The good news, however, is this form of memory loss can be treated so long as you know which medications are the most common culprits of this occurrence. Here are some medications that most frequently contribute to memory issues, as observed by professionals working in senior care services.

Sleeping Medication

The most common sleeping medications are sold under the names of Lunesta, Sonata and Ambien. While their purpose is to alleviate insomnia, they also cause a well-known side effect known colloquially as “Ambien amnesia.” This causes people to get up and carry out normal, everyday behaviors while still asleep, such as driving around, eating or doing chores, only to awaken the next day with no memory of having done anything. This particular side effect is the most severe example. For seniors, sleep medication can affect balance and hasten the development of dementia.

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Pain Relievers

Pain medicines are one of the most commonly administered medications across all senior care services. Some of the most frequently prescribed pain medicines contain opiates, which are already known for unleashing poor side effects on seniors. While pain medication doesn’t necessarily affect memory directly, it is shown to have generally poor effects on one’s thinking ability. This can prove especially harmful for seniors already struggling with dementia and similar conditions. If you have a loved one with dementia who regularly uses painkillers, look into discussing the issue with their medical provider and the Oklahoma assisted living facility managing their care to find safer pain management alternatives.

Cholesterol Medication

Caretakers at Oklahoma assisted living facilities also wind up handling cholesterol medications for residents on a frequent basis. Medications, such as Crestor and Lipitor, which are meant to lower a patient’s cholesterol, are common culprits for memory loss. This is because cholesterol is a major component of the brain’s physical makeup; it lends primarily to your ability to think quickly, learn and remember. As a result, medications meant to lower one’s cholesterol ultimately wind up affecting the amounts of cholesterol present in the brain as well.

How to Approach the Problem

How can you and senior living communities in Oklahoma City better prevent elderly memory loss? For starters, it helps to keep close track of the medications your senior loved one is taking. Record the names of each one, as well as how much your loved one is required to take, how often and the date they started the medication. Speak with your loved one’s doctors and pharmacists about alternatives and try to look for help from professionals who specialize in elderly care.

For more information on how you can prevent elderly memory loss for yourself or your loved one in Oklahoma assisted living, contact us. We have ample experience in senior care and can help you to maintain better cognitive well being.

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