During the aging process, we all may experience incremental changes in our cognitive abilities. While some of these changes are completely normal, others could be early signs of dementia. Inside our guidebook, we have included a chart that illustrates some common symptoms of normal aging.
If you notice that someone you love is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to speak up and encourage them to see a doctor. Though loved ones may show resistance, a doctor will better evaluate your parent’s or loved one’s health and offer them the help, guidance and information they need.
What is Dementia?
“Dementia” is an umbrella term. It develops when nerve cells in the brain die or no longer function normally and can cause changes in the person’s memory, behavior and ability to think clearly. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is always categorized as dementia, however, dementia is not always Alzheimer’s disease.
Symptoms of Dementia
Symptoms can vary greatly depending on the underlying cause. Dementia is not merely a problem of memory; it reduces the ability to learn, reason, retain or recall past experience. There is also loss of thought patterns, feelings and activities. A person experiencing dementia may have new problems finding the right words to express themselves, misplacing things, feel confusion with time/place or find it difficult to complete familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure.
Diagnosing and Treating
If you suspect that a family member is exhibiting several signs of dementia, a physician evaluation may be necessary to identify the underlying cause and perform further tests. While physicians can almost always diagnose dementia, it may be difficult to determine the exact cause. Among the tests the doctor might perform: a thorough medical history; medical status testing; and a complete physical and neurological exam.
Continue reading more in our free download– Alzheimer’s & Dementia Guidebook. You will also find a helpful checklist for evaluating a memory care facility.