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Senior Home Health Care Alert: Normal Aging vs. Dementia

Aug 9, 2012 |
Posted by Jessica Zelfand |

Senior Home Health Care alert. Normal Aging vs. DementiaAs we age our brains go through some normal aging ‘changes’. While it is normal to forget where you parked your car in a crowded parking lot or where you placed your car keys. However, it’s not normal to forget that you drove your car to the busy shopping center or what your keys are used for. Dementia is not normal aging. It is characterized by multiple cognitive deficits with memory impairments as a frequent early symptom. Below are some differences in what is considered normal and what may be signs of dementia. For more information please visit the Alzheimer’s Association Web site. www.alz.org

 

Signs of Normal Aging: 

  • May complain of memory loss but is able to provide considerable detail regarding incidents of forgetfulness
  • Has clear recent memory for important events, affairs, conversations are not impaired
  • May experience occasional word-finding difficulties
  • Does not get lost in familiar territory; may have to pause momentarily to remember the way
  • Maintains prior level of interpersonal social skills

 

Signs of Dementia:

  • May complain of memory problems only if specifically asked; unable to recall instances where memory loss was noticed
  • Notable decline in memory for recent events and ability to converse
  • Frequent word-finding pauses and substitutions
  • Gets lost in familiar territory while walking or driving; may take hours to eventually return home
  • Exhibits loss of interest in social activities; exhibits socially inappropriate behaviors

Someone with dementia will need support in the home as the disease gets worse. Family members or other caregivers can help by trying to understand how the person with dementia perceives his or her world. Give the person a chance to talk about any challenges and participate in his or her own care.

Reference:

Morton Hospital Mental Health Minutes

Information taken from AHCPR Clinical Practice Guidelines No. 19 Publication #97-0702, Washington DC – US Department of Health and Human Services.

UCSF: http://memory.ucsf.edu/brain/aging/dementia

Photo Credit: masonvitamins.com

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TAGS: Dementia Care Elder Care

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Jessica Zelfand

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