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Normal Aging vs Dementia

normal aging vs dementia

Photo of elderly woman tells a story for the doctor

Many people over the age of 65 experience some type of memory loss not related to Dementia. Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are not a part of normal aging.

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If you don’t have an underlying medical condition like dementia causing this memory loss, it is known as “Age-Associated Memory Impairment”. This is considered a normal part of the aging process and a form of dementia. Brain diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are different. Age-associated memory impairment and dementia can be told apart in a number of ways. Dementia is a disease that must be diagnosed by a medical professional.

It is important to consult a medical professional for a proper diagnosis.

 

     Normal Aging      Dementia
  • Not being able to remember details of a conversation or event that took place a year ago
  • Not being able to recall details of recent events or conversations
  • Not being able to remember the name of an acquaintance
  • Not recognizing or knowing the names of family members
  • Forgetting things and events occasionally
  • Forgetting things or events more frequently
  • Occasionally have difficulty finding words
  • Frequent pauses and substitutions when finding words
  • You are worried about your memory but your relatives are not
  • Your relatives are worried about your memory, but you are not aware of any problems

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If you are worried about your memory, talk to your family doctor. Your family Doctor or a Geriatrician would be able to test you. Is it Dementia or Normal Aging? See your doctor about memory concerns; it’s important to know that forgetting someone’s name doesn’t necessarily mean that you are getting dementia.

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Tips for coping with normal age-related memory difficulties:

  • Keep a daily routine and organize your information in a calendar or day planner
  • Put important items in the same spot; eg: put your keys in the same place by the door
  • Repeat information; eg: repeat the person’s name when you meet them
  • Run through the alphabet in your head to help you remember a word
  • Educate yourself on what you can do to strengthen yourmemory and maintain a healthy brain
  • Involve your senses; eg: if you’re a visual learner, visualize an item
  • Maintain a healthy well balanced diet
  • Get a full night’s sleep
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