And finally, another reason Karen continues to talk about cognitive impairment or dementia: A June, 2008 survey of 1,390 adults, commissioned by the Alzheimer’s Foundation for Caregiving in Canada, and conducted by the pollster IPSOS found 6 in 10 Canadian baby boomers have experienced a mild form of memory decline in the past year symptoms of a disorder called Age Associated Memory Impairment (AAMI).

AAMI, a common condition characterized by short-term memory problems usually over the age of 50, is believed to result from biological and chemical changes in the aging brain as well as a general shrinkage of brain volume, the foundation said.

According to medical experts, this is not a pathological condition or a disease, but rather something that people are going to experience, and the important thing is to try and differentiate AAMI from more sinister conditions, more malignant conditions that may go on to develop into dementia.

Of those polled, the most common examples of memory loss were misplacing items such as keys and glasses (35 percent) and forgetting people’s names (34 percent).

Experts also stated that knowledge about lifestyle changes can improve memory and reduce the chance of developing more serious memory difficulties or even dementia. Besides attention to exercise and diet, other steps include reducing stress, being social and pursuing mental activities such as learning a new language, doing crossword puzzles or playing chess to protect the brain against decline.

Conclusion for professional advisors:

Please talk to every one of your clients, especially the women, about the need for long term care planning – to ensure they are financially prepared to cope with both the possibility of becoming a family caregiver (if they are not one already!), and the possibility of suffering from one or more chronic illnesses as they age.