The ability to remember a string of events, people, or facts may begin to fade with advancing age. Many Seniors experience increased forgetfulness or difficulty following directions but is this a concern for a more serious issue such as Dementia or a natural aging process?
What is Dementia?Dementia is defined as a chronic or persistent disorder of mental processes marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning. Brain cells damaged in the aging process prevent healthy cells from properly communicating with each other and impact various cognitive functions. Dementia is often used as a description of cognitive decline, memory shortfalls, language failure, and difficulty in problem-solving.
What are the Signs of Normal Aging?Advanced age may cause certain areas of the brain to shrink, neurons and blood flow to decrease and/or increase. All of these medical changes affect cognitive function and are normal. Aging adults may experience different signs of cognitive decline, including:
- Short-term memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating or focusing
- Forgetting routine actions such as paying monthly bills or keeping appointments
When is Normal Aging Dementia?While it is normal to be forgetful and have a shorter attention span, Dementia is characterized by a Senior’s inability to complete everyday tasks. A sudden decline in motor skills, processing information, or working through problems is a strong indicator of Dementia. Severe cases include personality changes and/or an inability to control one’s behavior. Further signs of Dementia are:
- Not recognizing the day or year
- Difficulty focusing on a conversation
- Misplacing items often and/or unable to find them
- Making poor decisions
- Losing a sense of direction
- Personality changes, especially later in the day