Aging or Dementia?
I have less than surprising news- we’re all getting older. It’s not a myth, it’s the sad truth that we aren’t ever fully prepared for. A lot of things change as time goes by and we get older. Unfortunately our minds are one of those things. With old age comes the loss of memory, and a little confusion. It is harder to remember where we left our keys, who told us that important message, and what was on that To-Do list we left at home. Mixing people and things up become a lot more regular and time seems to be getting shorter. This forgetfulness and confusion, no matter how frustrating, is common amongst all people as we get older. However, some people develop dementia as they get older, which is not just simply forgetting/confusing things and people. There is no cure for dementia, but there are different steps to be taken.
So how do you know if it’s just normal aging or if it’s dementia? This part can be a little tricky because what’s normal for you may not be normal for me. The symptoms affect everyone differently. A little different behavior does not always mean dementia, but making repetitive mistakes might. Here are a few things to look out for:
- Getting lost in familiar places
- Repetitive questioning
- Odd or inappropriate behaviors
- Forgetfulness of recent events
- Repeated falls or loss of balance
- Personality changes
- Decline in planning and organization
- Changes in diet/eating habits
- Changes in hygiene
- Increased apathy
- Changes in language abilities, including comprehension
Dementia can be frustrating for those with the disease, as well as the loved ones who are caring for them. They key to dealing with this disease is to recognize what is happening. Some things may just be old age, other things may be caused by a serious issue. Mood swings and personality changes are not things to get mad at, it is the disease changing the person’s brain, not their choice. It may be difficult to know and understand the best approaches to handling dementia, which is why it is so important to reach out for help to find the best solutions.