The fact is that 40 percent of adults over the age of 65 suffer from memory loss.  This is known as “age-associated memory impairment”.  Unless there is an obvious underlying medical condition causing this memory loss, it is simply a part of the normal aging process.

On the other hand, brain diseases such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease do not fit into this category.  They are not a normal part of the aging process.

So, how do you know the difference?

Let’s start with Age-Associated Memory Impairment.

Typical indications include:

  • Not remembering the names of acquaintances
  • Not being able to remember the specifics of conversations that took place a year ago
  • Sometimes finding it difficult to find the right words to complete a thought
  • Occasionally forgetting things and events
  • Misplacing things such as keys or the remote control

These are normal signs of aging and memory loss.

What are the indications that are not normal signs of aging?

  • Not recognizing or remembering the names of family members and close friends
  • Not remembering conversations that took place recently
  • Frequently pausing and substituting words when speaking
  • More frequently forgetting things and events that are part of a routine
  • Getting lost in formerly routine environments

Dementia has a progressive nature to it.

Discovering it in the early stages can set the stage for minimizing the impacts of later stages.  So, what are the stages of Dementia?

  • Early-stage dementia is diagnosed when daily life is starting to become impacted. It is usually characterized by forgetfulness, inability to find words, repeating things, and difficulty in managing routine tasks like finances or shopping.
  • Middle-stage dementia will affect a person’s ability to function both inside and outside of the home. A person will typically lose almost all new information within moments of receiving it and exhibit impairment of social judgment and general problem-solving and will often get lost. Challenging behaviors often develop in mid-stage dementia.
  • Late-stage dementia is the stage where a person requires assistance with all activities of daily living, such as eating, bathing, and dressing.

If you have someone in your sphere who is experiencing some of the symptoms that are not part of the normal aging process, have his or her doctor do an assessment as soon as possible.

While Dementia is not curable, there are treatments available that can increase the quality of life for someone living with Dementia.  The doctor can direct you to care options that are available.  Most home care agencies have specially trained staff members who deal with those with Dementia.