Have you ever walked into a room and forgotten what you went in there for? Yeah, us too. It’s normal. You may have even heard of “senior moments”, and probably have experienced them. As a result of getting older, we will all see more and more memory issues, but how do you know if your memory loss is part of the natural ageing process, or a symptom of dementia?
The fact is, early-onset dementia does often goes undiagnosed because initial symptoms are too similar to those of senior moments to be distinguished. As a result, when people experience memory issues, they are often very fearful that they are experiencing dementia.
Senior Moments vs. Dementia
Again, memory loss is quite normal, and the incidence of dementia is low. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 40% of the elderly population will experience some form of memory loss after 65 years of age. However, only 5 to 8% of them live with dementia.
As we age, our memories may start to get foggy, and some may even begin to fade. If seniors find themselves experiencing a bit of memory loss, misplacing items and forgetting names here and there for instance, you can assure them that they are most likely not experiencing dementia. Forgetting the name of an old friend is not a sign of dementia, but forgetting who your son is might be. Moreover, if your friends and family are more aware of your memory issues than you are, it might be a sign of dementia.
How to Differentiate Between Normal Ageing and Dementia
Let’s compare some signs of normal ageing memory loss and signs of dementia together so that we can have a clearer picture. Now, we are not doctors and by no means experts in dementia so these are just guidelines. If you really are concerned, please visit your doctor to have further discussions!
Signs of Memory Loss Due to the Natural Ageing Process
- Unable to recall the content of conversations or details of events that took place a long time ago.
- Fail to recall the name of an acquaintance.
- Forget and slowly recall dates, things and events occasionally.
- “Tip of the tongue,” trouble finding words in conversations.
- Executive functions remain normal, but have longer cognitive processing and reaction time.
- You are worried about your memory, but your families and friends are not.
Signs of Dementia
- Forget recent events details or conversations content.
- Repeat the same conversations.
- Unable to recognize or know the names of family members.
- Forget things, events and appointments more frequently.
- Trouble coming up with the desired words in conversations and have frequent pauses and substitutions when finding words.
- Unable to perform complex daily tasks
- Your friends and relatives are worried about your memory, but you are not aware of these issues.
Attention! Not all symptoms are listed here. If you find yourself having some of the signs, please visit professionals and ask for help!
According to the American Academy of Neurology’s practice guideline, aerobic exercise is one of the best methods to maintain brain health. Take 30 minutes out of your day to exercise! Swimming, brisk walking, jogging, gardening, and cycling, for instance, are some recommended aerobic exercises for seniors.
Cardio workouts not only help seniors with memory loss, but also help lower blood pressure, enhance the health of the heart, and improve sleep quality. It’s never too late to start exercising, and there is always time to stay up-to-date on the latest resources of geriatric diseases. Together, we can beat this.
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