One of the difficulties that we may face as we age is that the normal symptoms that accompany our senior years can be easily misinterpreted. Different routines, health concerns, and changes in medications can all work to change our behavior which can complicate diagnosing us correctly. Oftentimes, families sit on either sides of the spectrum – either fearing for the worst or ignoring signs under the impression that things haven’t changed drastically. The varying speeds at which changes in health and behavior occur can have an enormous impact on the way conditions are viewed and, ultimately, handled.
Dementia is the number one psycho degenerative illness facing older Americans and, yet, it can be hard to recognize as many of its symptoms resemble normal aging in so many respects. In order to diagnose and treat dementia properly, we must be aware of the differences between the two.
|Difficulty recalling details of an event a year or more ago||Difficulty recalling details of an event a few days or weeks ago|
|Forgetting random events sporadically||Continually missing appointments or routine meetings|
|Concern about their own memory loss||Concern from family and friends about memory loss|
|Occasionally misplacing items such as keys||Constantly losing important items|
|Takes a little extra time to remember directions||Gets lost in familiar places|
Occasional difficulty thinking of a word
|Often has difficulty thinking of a word or frequently replacing words to navigate memory lapses|
|Unable to recall the name of someone they’ve met||Unable to recall the names of family members and friends|
If any of the signs in the right column are familiar to you or someone you know, make an appointment to speak to a doctor about these concerns. A doctor will be able to make a more accurate assessment and identify particular risk factors or safety concerns. They may ask you a number of questions pertaining to memory and wellness in order to better understand your situation.
Aside from aging and dementia, there are other factors that could be contributing to memory loss that are important to consider, as well. These include things like depression, dehydration, alcohol abuse, vitamin deficiency, etc. Make sure to be as thorough and honest as possible when meeting with a doctor and, if possible, bring a loved one with you. Having an extra pair of ears is always a good idea, especially if you are concerned you may miss something or be unable to remember it after the appointment.