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  • Zara Ayanna Salmon

Aging or Alzheimer’s

As we get older, slight memory loss is normal. Who hasn’t forgotten a key or a wallet every now and then? So, as our loved ones begin to show signs of forgetfulness, it may leave you to ponder, is it aging or Alzheimer’s? Here are 5 ways to determine whether it’s normal forgetfulness that comes with aging or something more serious.

  1. Forgetting Names

    1. Normal Sign of Aging: Occasionally forgetting a name, place, date or address but remembering them later.

    2. Dementia: Frequently forgetting names, especially names of closed loved ones, and seldom remembering them.

  2. Misplacing Things

    1. Normal Sign of Aging: Misplacing common items such as wallet, keys, phone but being able to retrace your steps and find them.

    2. Dementia: Misplacing those common items as well as less common items and finding them in odd places such as a phone in the fridge.

  3. Inappropriate Language

    1. Normal Sign of Aging: Saying sly or inappropriate comments that may have been socially acceptable when they were young but has since phased out of common vernacular. Typically, they reserve these comments for private functions among family and friends.

    2. Dementia: Frequently saying atypical inappropriate comments. They may say these comments loudly and they may not care where or when these comments take place.

  4. Getting Lost

    1. Normal Sign of Aging: Forgetting why you entered a room but remembering later on.

    2. Dementia: Getting lost in a familiar setting such as a home or local grocery store and genuinely thinking that you are somewhere else. The confusion may cause extreme emotional distress.

  5. Lack of Socialization

    1. Normal Sign of Aging: Occasionally a bit more withdrawn than usual, losing interest in some activities but not all.

    2. Dementia: Losing interest in most activities, especially their favorite activities. Isolating oneself and reluctance to speak, either because they don’t want to or they are having trouble finding or getting the words out.

If you or your loved one are still concerned after reading this article, head to the doctor and get a memory test! If it isn’t dementia, certain activities can promote memory retention such as reading, socializing, exercise, and problem-solving puzzles. If it is dementia, the doctor can provide you or your loved one with a plan to live life safely and comfortably during this time. Though Alzheimer’s disease inevitably brings about a lot of life changes, you or your loved one still have the right to a dignified life with quality care. Finding a caregiver will be the next step. It is best to find a caregiver as early into the diagnosis as possible so you or your loved one can develop a bond with the caregiver and agency. The severity of the prognosis will determine the type of care needed in the home.

If you’re having a tough time determining the type of care you or your loved one may need, call Opal Stork Home Care at 203-745-4080 today to set an appointment with our Geriatric Care Manager.

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