When it comes to aging, there are certain changes that are considered normal and other changes that signal a more serious problem. In regard to memory and thinking, there is some level of decline to be expected, but certain changes regarding memory and brain health could reveal early dementia and should not be avoided.
In some cases, early dementia can be misdiagnosed as a normal part of aging, but there are key differences between aging changes and dementia-related changes.
Dementia is characterized by memory loss and misplacing items, like putting your shoes in the kitchen cupboard. Occasional forgetfulness can be a part of normal aging but when forgetfulness and memory loss impede a person’s ability to perform daily tasks, that is when it’s attributed to dementia.
Here are some key signs that can tell if you’re experiencing normal aging or early signs of dementia.
Normal aging: Forgetting where you placed an item but later retracing your steps to find it or forgetting a person’s name but recalling it later.
Dementia symptom: Forgetting a person’s name, activity you did earlier in the day, or where you placed something and being able to recall it.
Normal aging: Being slower at problem-solving, multi-tasking, and occasionally making a poor decision.
Dementia symptom: Being unable to problem solve, multi-task, and making bad decisions more often.
Normal aging: Occasional difficulties with finding the right word to express oneself.
Dementia symptom: Greater difficulties with language, perception, and orientation.
Normal aging: Occasional mood swing, anxiety about life, and loss of interest.
Dementia symptom: Easily irritable, frightful, anxious, severe changes in mood and behavior, and complete loss of interest in once beloved activities.
There is currently no cure for dementia, but early detection is still important to begin treatment, which can slow down disease progression. By recognizing these signs and symptoms, you could seek help earlier rather than later.
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