Differentiating “Senior Moments” from Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
You altogether forgot about the physician’s appointment scheduled for last Wednesday, misplaced your sunglasses for the umpteenth time, and cannot remember the name of the new neighbor for the life of you. Is all of this simply a regular part of aging, or could it be the beginning of Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia?
The fear of developing dementia is not unusual; and increasing, as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have gained increasing awareness, resulting in worries about our own possible decrease of independence and functionality, along with memory difficulties. In addition, it raises questions regarding future care and living arrangements, if the time should come that assistance is necessary to stay safe and to take care of everyday needs.
Nonetheless, it’s important to know there are a number of reasons behind forgetfulness which are entirely unrelated to dementia, and some amount of memory impairment is merely part and parcel of aging. Recent statistics show that only 5% of seniors ages 71 – 79 actually have dementia, though that number increases to 37% for those aged 90 and over.
The first step is to consult with your primary care physician about any cognitive impairment you’re experiencing, so that you can receive an accurate diagnosis and treatment. Before your appointment, make a note of details such as:
- When the impairment began
- Whether it was a sudden or gradual decline
- If it is impacting day to day life: eating, getting dressed, taking care of personal hygiene needs, etc.
The doctor will want to eliminate issues that can mimic dementia – such as delirium and depression – as well as see whether the issue might stem from treatment side effects. Dementia progresses slowly, and in addition to memory deficits, may affect the ability to:
- Reason, judge, and problem-solve
- Focus and pay attention
For anyone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, or any other condition that affects the capacity to manage day to day life independently, Generations at Home is always here to provide just as much or as little help as needed by thoroughly trained and experienced care professionals. A few of the numerous ways we can enable seniors with dementia or any other challenges to remain safe, comfortable, and independent at home include:
- Assistance with personal care needs, like showering and dressing
- Transportation to medical appointments and enjoyable outings
- Running errands
- Planning and preparing meals
- Household chores
- Engaging activities and socialization
- And a lot more
Give us a call at 727-940-3414 or fill out our contact form for a free-of-charge in-home consultation for more information on how we can help.