Know The Difference Between Normal Forgetfulness And Dementia
Memory Loss & Aging
With the aging process, individuals typically begin to experience slight changes in their cognitive abilities over time, including increased forgetfulness or memory loss. You may notice a modest decline in spontaneous word finding (taking longer to get words out), along with a reduced ability to multi-task, for example. The speed with which information is processed gradually slows down with age, so a delay in recalling names, dates or events that happened in the past is most likely due to normal aging.
However, other memory loss issues could be related to dementia. For instance, not being able to recall recent details of an event can indicate the beginning of some cognitive deficits. Causes for concern include frequently misplacing objects, not knowing the name of objects, forgetting names and places without recall, having difficulty using the right words or becoming lost in familiar surroundings.
It can often be difficult for those experiencing memory issues to recognize their problems while others around them are troubled by the changes – whereas an older adult experiencing normal forgetfulness or “senior moments” would generally be aware of their own lack of recall. Most memory issues develop gradually, worsening over time, so keep in mind that if a sudden change in memory loss occurs, it could be related to another medical condition which may need immediate attention.
Experts typically suggest that when memory loss prevents someone from performing daily tasks and accustomed roles in life, it’s time to consult a physician for further evaluation. Because dementia is a clinical diagnosis, a clinician needs to merge all of the information from the patient examination, family history, lab results and brain scans in order to diagnose your loved one.
Is Your Loved One Showing Symptoms Of Dementia?
You can watch your loved ones for the following signs, which could be indicators of dementia:
- An overall disheveled appearance
- Disregard for personal cleanliness
- Difficulty with food preparation
- Changes in appetite and food preferences
- Alcohol abuse
- Loss of reasoning and judgment skills
- Problems with managing finances
- Stacks of mail and unpaid bills
- Plants that are dying
- Pets being neglected or overfed/underfed
- Lack of interest in friends or activities
- Forgetfulness or loss of short-term memory
- Change in sleep habits
- Unable to safely manage medications
If your loved one is showing several of the above signs, you should consider seeking help from medical professionals. You’ll begin to get answers and may decide to seek assistance for your loved one with memory loss. At Redstone Village, you’ll find quality dementia care at a premier Life Plan community with a focus on whole-person wellness – where your loved one can receive high-quality care and enriching services for a healthier, more fulfilling lifestyle.