November 28, 2018

As you age, your body and mind change. You might notice you don’t remember words or events the way you used to and might even misplace your keys from time to time. But, can you tell if the changes you’re experiencing are a normal part of aging or something more, like dementia?

This Is a Normal Part of Aging

It’s estimated that between 10-20 percent of older adults in the United States suffer from mild memory loss. Not being able to remember things can be frustrating and even embarrassing at times, but for the most part – it’s normal. Here is a list of cognitive changes that are typical of aging:

  • You worry about your memory, but relatives and close friends haven’t noticed anything concerning.
  • You forget events occasionally.
  • You sometimes struggle to find the right words.
  • You’re unable to remember the name of an acquaintance.
  • You struggle to remember the details of a conversation that happened over a year ago.

Signs That It’s Something More

The National Institute of Aging defines dementia as the loss of cognitive functioning and behavioral abilities to the extent that it interferes with your daily activities. It’s estimated that 5.7 million Americans are living with the disease.

The Alzheimer’s Association created a list of 10 early signs of dementia to help you know when you should be concerned and speak to your doctor. The following are symptoms of dementia:

  • You struggle to develop and follow or work with numbers. This might show up as difficulty following a familiar recipe or balancing a checkbook.
  • You can’t complete everyday tasks, such as driving to a familiar location.
  • You’re unable to remember recently learned information. This is often the first sign of dementia.
  • You lose track of dates, time, or seasons. You might have trouble understanding an explanation about an event or you might forget where you are or how you got there.
  • You find it difficult to work with words – both written and spoken. This can make carrying or joining a conversation hard. Other things you can notice include having trouble writing, finding the right words, or even call things by the wrong name.
  • You suffer from mood and personality changes. You feel depressed, anxious, fearful, or even confused.
  • You no longer find joy in hobbies and activities you once enjoyed, because it’s hard to keep up and remember how to participate.
  • Your decision-making abilities have changed. You make poor decisions about money or forget to tend to personal hygiene, such as bathing or grooming.
  • You misplace items and aren’t able to retrace your steps.
  • Your vision is reduced. This can make reading, determining color, or judging distance difficult.

If you’re experiencing any of the signs of dementia, talk to your doctor right away. We understand these changes can be scary, but with a thorough assessment, your care team can determine what’s causing your memory issues and create a treatment plan that will ease the struggle. Give us a call today to schedule your appointment.

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