Whether we accept it or not, we’re all getting older. We all have forgetful moments and aging happens to all of us. But when should we be concerned about forgetfulness being something else, such as Alzheimer’s?
What is Alzheimer’s?
November is Alzheimer’s Awareness month and according to Texas Health and Human Services, it’s currently estimated that over 6.2 million people are struggling with Alzheimer’s in the United States alone.
The Alzheimer’s Association says, “Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms eventually grow severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.”
So, when we look at the normal things one experiences during the aging process, what should we expect to see? The following are normal signs of aging:
- Occasionally forgetting something you were told or someone’s name
- Misplacing items like keys or telephone, but finding them after retracing your steps
- On occasion, walking into a room and forgetting why you’re there
- Having a more challenging time multi-tasking tasks
- Losing track of a larger conversation if many people are speaking
- Feeling tired or frustrated with too many work, family or social obligations
- Not remembering the day of the week, but being able to remember using time-based references
- Sometimes forgetting which word you intend to use
- Making a bad decision on occasion
- Minor memory impairments, that do not noticeably affect your daily life
With Dementia and Alzheimer’s, we see more consistent and profound memory behaviors that do affect daily life. Such as:
- Forgetting the names of family members or close friends
- Having no recognition of where something is and the inability to retrace your steps
- Consistently finding yourself walking into a room without knowing why you’re there
- Having difficulty focusing and concentrating on a task or two tasks at a time
- Having difficulty following a conversation with one or two people
- Feeling frustration in regular, daily environments
- Regularly experiencing a loss as to what day it is, what week, month or year it is
- Having greater difficulty using language to express self in conversation
- Making poor choices on a greater and more consistent basis
- Experiencing semi-regular memory impairments that affect your life, such as forgetting to lock the doors of your home, or taking medication
While it can be difficult to determine the difference between typical aging and experiencing “senior moments” and the onset of Alzheimer’s, there are a few key factors to look for:
- Does the memory issue affect daily living?
- Does the memory issue affect safety?
- What is the regularity and consistency of the memory issue?
Look for some of these symptoms:
- New issues with language, in speaking or writing
- Lessened ability to learn and retain something new (activity or information)
- Confusion with time and/or place
- Greater challenges with planning and problem solving than previously had
- Decreased and more consistent poor choices
- Increased challenge with completing daily tasks they used to complete
If you are, or someone you love is experiencing these symptoms, please speak with the family physician. You may want to write down examples of behaviors to be able to discuss fully with the health care provider.
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Do you have questions about how you can better support your loved one while they age in place in South Florida or regarding homecare in general? Please contact CareGivers of America here: Contact or call us toll free: 800-342-4197
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