How to tell the difference between average memory loss vs dementia?

With the physical body aging, the mind ages too. The neurons, which are fundamental units for both the brain and the nervous system, gradually die, like any other cell in our body. At the time of birth, a human brain consists of a hundred billion neurons. Therefore, we tend to become forgetful due to our age. Unlike many other cells in our body, neurons do not regenerate or reproduce, once these cells die, they are not replaced by newer neurons. But there are significant and noticeable differences between average memory loss and Dementia (which, of course, is a disease).

According to data reported and published by WHO (World Health Organisation), almost 40% of individuals face average memory loss after the age of 65. But it does not hinder our daily lives. Another data from WHO suggests that after the age of 65, a small percentage of people (5% – 8% to be exact) may face issues related to Dementia. And their cognitive ability is likely to deteriorate with time and worsen their memory. Taking care of individuals with dementia can be challenging, but homes for senior living can provide adequate care for them.

Normal memory loss

Normal memory loss is a part of our life. This is the sole reason we use sticky notes, reminders, and even specific reminder apps in our smartphones so that we don’t forget what we are supposed to do or be somewhere at any particular time period. These problems can be annoying at times but it is not a serious issue to be considered. Here are instances of some common memory loss problems:

  • Forgetfulness and other brain complications: In accordance with the National Institute of Ageing, many types of physical and mental complications can give rise to forgetfulness and memory loss. For instance, any individual going through depression sometimes is mistakenly thought of as having symptoms of Dementia. The institute also states that if a person is already preoccupied with sadness or any recent tragedy can forget things due to their focus constantly being concentrated on their loss.
  • Absent-mindedness and Transience: Researchers from Harvard Medical School suggested that with age, these problems occur naturally. It is just a normal part of the aging process that every human has to go through sooner or later. When your brain forgets some parts of its memory with time, that is called Transience. The researchers further suggest that this can be a good thing because the brain is getting rid of those unused memories by replacing them with newer ones. Absent-mindedness can occur due to the lack of enough focus or concentration. You can forget an appointment simply due to the reason you were not focused enough at that exact moment.

Dementia

The fundamental difference between average memory loss and Dementia is that the memory loss that is in relation to Dementia is cumulative. The situation gradually becomes worse day by day. And precisely because of this reason, the senior starts losing the sense of time and place. Most Dementia seniors cannot live on their own. Therefore, they are shifted to assisted living communities so that they will get the proper care they need.

The word Dementia can be used when the brain is mutilated by different diseases. These diseases focus their attack on the cognitive and mental abilities making them less functional every passing day. Our average ability to think, memorize and reason gets significantly affected. Here are some significant signs that can help you determine if you should consult a physician:

  • Not paying any attention to the self — behaving unusually, not eating properly, forgetting to bathe, and similar daily life activities.
  • Unable to properly follow specified directions or recipes.
  • Spacing out and in the meantime visiting any familiar place or person from memory.
  • Constantly getting bewildered about the place, time, and people.
  • Repeating the same questions again and again.

Disorientation: Disorientation is another major problem that people with Dementia face. People with Dementia can face disorientations when they come across new surroundings. Also, disorientations can expand towards both time and place. After visiting new places, older people with Dementia become more insecure than normal people. Therefore special care is needed for people with Dementia, and memory care homes provide them with the care they need.

Forgetting important information: If you think normal memory loss and Dementia are very similar, then you are mistaken. It is not just merely forgetting your keys, objects, or appointment schedule. It is much more than that. It includes forgetting the names of your family, friends, acquaintances, even names of places and objects. If any older people are showing signs similar to this, then he/she should visit a physician as soon as possible.

Personality change: People with Dementia may likely go through significant personality changes. For instance, a person who is at the middle stage of Dementia may become more aggressive. They can also show specific behaviors related to paranoia and even impulsiveness. Sometimes, it is the most challenging part to deal with. But there are assisted living communities that specialize in taking proper care of people with Dementia.

It is wrong to think that dementia also comes with aging. People with dementia may also face challenges while paying attention, with visual sagacity and even linguistic skills. To find the best course of action is also essential to find out the cause of your dementia. Community senior living offers help to those elders who are facing dementia problems and cannot take care of themselves. You can also take the dementia senior to visit the doctor every 6-12 months or as the physician instructs.

Overall, it is essential to know the differences between average memory loss and Dementia. Normal memory loss occurs just because of the lack of concentration, or the individual is not adequately focused at the exact moment. But even if both of them show overlapping symptoms, average memory loss is not progressive at all, whereas Dementia worsens the condition of the brain over time. If you think you or your loved ones are showing symptoms of Dementia, please visit and consult your physician at once. By any chance, if you have a Dementia senior, you can send them to senior assisted living communities where they will get the proper attention and care they need.

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