As we get older, changes happen in all parts of our body, including the brain. Consequently, some people notice that it is taking longer to learn new stuff. Sometimes, they do not recall information and tend to forget more often. These signs may cause worry, making people think that is it just aging or something more serious.
This post aims to give you an overview of the difference between normal age-related memory loss and diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia. So, let’s get started.
Normal Aging Vs. Dementia
Indeed, these two conditions are entirely different. Around 40% of people above the age of 65 suffer from some form of memory loss. If there is no underlying disease causing this memory loss, it is called “age-related memory impairment.” On the contrary, brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia are different.
Speaking of Dementia, it is a syndrome that is characterized by loss of brain abilities. It causes decreased cognitive function and impacts the performance of memory and communication abilities. Alzheimer’s, on the other hand, is the most common type of dementia that affects memory and behavior of a person.
The Symptoms of Normal Aging vs. Dementia
The section below shows some of the possible changes due to normal aging and Dementia. Here, it is crucial to understand that everyone is different, and not everyone with Dementia will notice all of these changes.
Note: This is not a diagnostic tool. If after reading it you’re worried about yourself or someone close to you, it is advisable to see a qualified and professional health care professional.
1. Short-term Memory & Learning New Things
Forgetting people’s names or appointments once in a while, but remembering them later. Misplacing things like mobile phones, TV remote, glasses occasionally.
Forgetting the names of even close friends and family members. Not being able to recall recent events. Asking for the same information time after time. Putting things in different places like placing your car keys in the bathroom cabinets.
2. Planning and Decision Making
Being a little slower to think things. Losing the ability to juggle multiple tasks and getting distracted easily. Occasionally making a wrong decision. Making financial mistakes once in a while.
Getting quite confused when planning things. Not being able to concentrate properly. Making poor choices and judgment, especially when assessing risks and dealing with money.
Going into a room and forgetting why you went there, but remembering it quickly. Getting confused about the week or the day.
Not knowing where you’re in your usual place. Not remembering the date and the passage of time.
Having trouble choosing the right word sometimes. Losing the thread, especially when many people speaking at the same time. Facing difficulty with keeping up with a conversation.
Referring to objects as this thing or that thing. Difficulty with making a conversation. Regularly losing the thread.
5. Mood & Behavior
Sometimes feeling tired of work or feeling a bit anxious. Becoming short-tempered when a routine is disrupted.
Losing interest in hobbies & socializing and getting sad and anxious unusually. Feeling low in self-confidence. Becoming upset quickly at work and home, even in a comfortable and familiar place.
6. Visual Perceptual Skills
Changes in vision due to cataracts and cloudy vision.
An issue with interpreting visual information. For instance, difficulty in judging distances, misinterpreting patterns, reflections, etc.
It is crucial to know the difference between normal aging and Dementia. Forgetting names does not necessarily mean that you’re getting Dementia. If you’re worried about your memory or see any symptoms of Dementia, consult your doctor.