It is a scary reality for any senior citizen to face. The fact that their forgetting little facts, people’s names or even recalling memories is more than just “growing older”. Perhaps there is a more serious cause of all these lapses in memory. Maybe it is something as serious as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. These big names sound daunting and life altering, which they can be. However, knowing the signs and preventative measures for both, can help reduce the disease and make it easier to live with.
Frist of all: What is Alzheimer’s disease and dementia?
Dementia is the general term for the severe decline in mental ability in senior citizens that may hinder their daily life. Unlike other diseases, this term is not one for a specific disease. It refers to a wide range of symptoms associated with decline in memory or thinking skills. Some of the more specific diseases that fall under the umbrella of “dementia” is Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia (which occurs after a stroke), and others.
Dementia is caused by a variety of symptoms including reversible issues like a problem with the thyroid or a vitamin deficiency. It is often wrongly referred to as “senility” or “senile dementia,” both of which reflect a formerly widespread and incorrect belief that serious mental decline is simply “a normal part of aging.”
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. (It accounts for 50 to 80 percent of dementia cases). It causes issues with memory, thinking and behavior. The symptoms typically develop slowly and progressively get worse with time. They can even become severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging. Many patients of this disease are 65 or older however. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease but treatments are available to give more time for someone suffering from the disease. Also, new research on the disease is being conducted daily.
Here are the 10 Warning Signs for Alzheimer ’s disease:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
- Challenges in planning or solving problems.
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure.
- Confusion with time or place.
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.
- New problems with words in speaking or writing.
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.
- Decreased or poor judgment.
- Withdrawal from work or social activities.
- Changes in mood or personality.
Both of these diagnoses can be scary. Losing one’s memory or ability to conduct daily activities can be frightening or even devastating. However, resources are available for family members or senior citizens suffering from these diseases. Help is available. If you need more information or want someone to talk to about dementia or Alzheimer’s disease with: visit or call alz.org/10signs or 800.272.3900.
**This blog post was written with the aid of information gathered from alz.org.