Know the Signs: Alzheimer's vs. Memory Loss. (Infographic)
Forgetfulness and memory lapse are both normal occurrences as we age, but when memory loss begins to disrupt your daily life it could be more serious. This article can help you better understand the distinct differences between mild memory loss and dementia or Alzheimer's disease.
Natural Memory Loss With Age
As we age, some memory loss typically occurs. Most elderly people will occasionally forget a name or where they put the car keys. These normal lapses in memory generally pose few problems. However, dementia and Alzheimer's differ remarkably from normal, age-related memory loss, which is often called "mild cognitive impairment." Mild cognitive impairment typically does not affect an individual's ability to carry out everyday tasks or social abilities. These impairments don't always lead to the symptoms associated with dementia.
Other reasons that may lead to memory loss may have no relation to age at all. Additional explanations to memory loss may include any of the following:
- Medications- particular medications or incorrect dosage may cause memory loss. Mental health disorders or depression
- Nutritional insufficiency- specifically vitamin B-12
- Head injury
It is important to understand that Alzheimer's disease affects much more than memory. Alzheimer's disease slowly breaks down brain cells. Dementia can result from a variety of conditions affecting the brain, and all forms of dementia affect memory, thinking and emotions.
The Alzheimer's Association defines dementia as, the slow decline of thinking, reasoning and memory. Alzheimer's is considered the most common form of dementia. Overtime, Alzheimer's Disease causes loss of brain cells and overall function of the brain.
Early Signs of Dementia
Health professionals generally diagnose dementia when memory loss increasingly prevents an individual from performing activities of daily life. Dementia can present often extreme challenges in completing even the most familiar tasks at home or at work, such as:
- driving to a specific location
- misplacing items
- remembering steps taken for an activity
- failing to understand time and place
- experiencing difficulties problem solving
- repeatedly asking the same question
- inability to follow instructions
- sudden mood changes with no explanation
When to Seek Help for Memory Loss
If you've noticed any of the previous signs associated with dementia in your own life or that of a loved one, it may be time to seek additional help from a memory support team. You'll benefit by crafting several questions to not only determine for yourself if help is needed but also for your physician.
Have you changed any medications as of late?How much alcohol do you consumer on a regular basis?
Have you recently made changes in your routine?
Do you suffer with depression?
Have you suffered from a recent head injury from a fall or accident?
Do you feel like daily tasks are becoming a challenge?
Understanding a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's is highly beneficial. Not only will it assist in the treatment of Alzheimer's, it will also help educate both you and your families on the disease itself. With an early diagnosis, you then have the ability to convey your future care wishes to your loved ones and caregivers. This includes choosing a future care community that fits your individual preferences and needs.
If you or a loved one , are experiencing difficulties associated with memory loss, we're here to help. While the road may have it's challenges, we offer care and living options that provide a safe and supportive environment. Our Memory Support team has the knowledge and experience to provide a helping hand, a listening ear and a heart of compassion for the road ahead.