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Is it memory loss, Dementia or Alzheimer’s?

December 26, 2018

As we age, most of us will feel that we have become more forgetful.  The term “senior moment” has even become a common phrase to express how that feels when we forget why we went into a room, a friend’s name, or where the keys are.  For most of us, these events are normal. It is also normal to feel that one’s memory is declining after age 65.  That decline is annoying but normal, and strategies to improve memory are available.  Our December 4, 2018 blog shared some popular ones.  However, if you or your loved one seems to have a feeling that memory is declining, medical providers should be alerted.

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) defines dementia as “the loss of cognitive functioning—thinking, remembering, and reasoning—and behavioral abilities to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities.”  At its most severe stage, the person depends “completely on others for basic activities of daily living.”  Many different diseases can cause dementia, and drugs are available to treat some of these diseases.

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of dementia cases.  Alzheimer’s Disease is a progressive disease with symptoms worsening over the years.  The Alzheimer’s Association provides an early detection list of 10 warning signs, along with changes that are normal changes as we age at this site:  https://www.alz.org/media/Documents/10-signs-checklist.pdf, but is summarized below.

The signs include:

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life (vs. forgetting names and appointments)
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems (vs. occasional errors when balancing a checkbook.)
  3. Difficulty completing familiar (daily) tasks (vs. needing help to use the microwave.)
  4. Confusion with time or place (vs. confused about the day of the week, but figuring it out later.)
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationship (vs. vision changes due to cataracts.)
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing (vs. having trouble finding the right word.)
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps (vs. misplacing things from time to time and retracing steps to find them.)
  8. Decreased or poor judgment (vs. making a bad decision once in a while.)
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities (vs. feeling weary of work, family or social obligations.
  10. Changes in mood and personality (vs. developing specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine in disrupted.)

Just Like Family is a home health care provider in Naples always focused on the well-being of clients, trying to help them stay independent in their own home.

Disclaimer: The blog entry above has been created utilizing different online sources. The blog entry has not been verified by a doctor. Please note that conducting the above-mentioned activities is at the individual’s own risk and responsibility. Please always consult a doctor before exercising or doing any physical activity, especially to avoid injuries or harm due to unknown preconditions. Just Like Family is not responsible for any injuries while conducting the above activities.

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