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
Seniors may also develop a condition termed MCI or mild cognitive impairment. MCI is not as severe as Dementia, as those with MCI are still able to take care of themselves and participate in most everyday activities. Not everyone with MCI will develop Alzheimer’s but it is a concern. Activities to retain mental skills and prevent MCI from developing into a more serious condition are available. Routine doctor visits help monitor the condition.
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
When to Visit a Doctor
If, at any age, a loved one is starting to show signs of cognitive decline, consult a physician to find if displayed behaviors are due to Dementia or normal aging.
Bridge to Better Living helps you and your loved one during a transition. Your loved one may have a better quality of life in a community designed to meet their needs and who understands memory loss behaviors. Transition Consultants assist and guide in finding the best Assisted or Memory Care Assisted Living Option without bias and at no cost to the client. Placement with Passion® is Bridge to Better Living’s mission and is lived every day. YOU matter to us.