How to Understand if it’s Normal Aging vs. Dementia

By January 28, 2015Dementia

It’s true; as we age our memory becomes less effective. We may need to have someone repeat what they just said in order to remember all the details. However, if you’re noticing more concerning symptoms in your senior loved one, it might be time to have them checked for dementia.

Difference between normal aging vs. dementia

Dementia is NOT a normal part of aging. Yes, our memory decreases as we age, however, if you notice that a senior loved one is having trouble with speech or remembering conversations that just happened, it might be time to get checked. Here are some symptoms of normal aging vs. dementia:

  1. Unable to remember every detail in a conversation
  2. Forgetting the name of a friend
  3. Having difficulty finding the right words
  4. Aware that your memory is getting worse

These four things are common signs that your loved one is aging. However, it’s no cause for alarm. There are ways to combat memory issues. One way in doing so is by keeping a strict routine. The more structured an older adult’s day is the more efficient they will be. It’s also a good idea if there are various appointments that span from the everyday routine, to keep them listed in a planner. Organization is the key to a healthy mind. Not all of us have an encyclopedic, but if our tasks are all written down, we can prepare for them better, especially older adults.

Here are some signs and symptoms of dementia:

  1. Forgetting entire conversations
  2. Forgetting family member’s names
  3. Substituting incorrect words in sentences
  4. Unaware of potential memory problems

These four items above are a call for a bigger concern. However, this is not a diagnostic tool to determine if a loved one has dementia or Alzheimer’s. That is the work of trained medical professionals. That’s why it’s best to take them to their primary physician where they can be effectively tested whether it’s normal aging vs. dementia.

It’s important to realize that just because your senior loved one had a hard time remembering a phone conversation you had last week, they do not for certain have dementia. The mind is like any other part of the body. Wear and tear will eventually occur, and our minds are constantly being utilized. It’s nothing to be ashamed of or fear for when the time comes. Some of the useful tips up above can be effective tools to help with your senior loved one’s day. However, everyone’s mind works differently so you and your senior loved one can work together so their days can be efficient as possible.

Image Credit – http://www.newsworks.org/images/stories/flexicontent/l_shutterstock_elderly-man_1200x675.jpg

LivHOME

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