Dementia is defined as chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury and marked by memory disorders, personality changes and impaired reasoning. It is not a specific disease but rather a general term, which can describe a wide variety of symptoms related to memory decline in older adults. Although there are many forms of dementia affecting seniors, Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60-80% of cases.
As we age, many adults experience memory loss issues. However, this does not mean they have Alzheimer’s or other related dementias. Aging experts have determined that small lapses in memory, or “senior moments” as they are commonly referred to, are a normal part of the aging process.
It can be challenging to recognize what is a typical “senior moment” and what may be a sign of dementia. Review the common signs of normal memory loss vs. dementia symptoms below:
There are various reasons for cognitive decline in seniors and older adults. For example, blood flow to the brain can decrease, resulting in both a reduction in cognitive skills and memory. Additionally, medical experts have proven that as we age the memory center area of the brain known as the hippocampus begins to deteriorate, affecting our ability to form and retrieve memories.
Engaging the brain in activity and mental stimulation, eating a healthy diet and regular exercise are known to slow the normal cognitive decline associated with aging.
Since most forms of dementia are progressive, meaning they gradually get worse over time, it can be difficult to get a proper diagnosis in the early stages. It is important to consult a doctor if you believe you or your loved one may be showing signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, which include:
There is no one test to diagnose if someone has dementia. Medical professionals determine a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s by carefully examining medical history, physical abilities, laboratory results and characteristic changes that affect one’s ability to perform day-to-day functions. Recognizing the signs earlier and consulting a doctor are key to starting proper treatment to slow the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Concordia Senior Living offers a unique structured to promote resident confidence in a safe and home-like environment. With active participation in memory-focused activities and our compassionate staff, Concordia creates an atmosphere for memory care residents to live life to the fullest.