When a loved one begins to exhibit some changes in their abilities and memories, it can be a scary thing. Many people have a tendency to jump straight into thinking their loved one may have a form of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, but many of these changes are simple, age-related changes. How do you know when it’s something more, though? “Seniors with memory loss exhibit a wide range of scary signs,” says Dawn Joaquin, Community Relations Director at YourLife™ of Coconut Creek, a Memory Care community in Coconut Creek, Florida.
Stages & Progression of Dementia
“What day is it?” “Who is the person you were just talking to?” “Where did I put my keys, now?” These may all sound like common questions a parent or loved one may ask, but there is one very distinct difference – some are signs of normal aging, and some are signs of memory loss. “One of the most common questions we get is how do you tell the difference between normal aging and memory loss,” says Dawn Joaquin, Community Relations Director at YourLife™ of Coconut Creek, a Memory Care community in Coconut Creek, Florida.
Do you have a loved one you believe may have Alzheimer’s disease? Or has a loved one recently been diagnosed, leaving you with a desire to learn more so you can provide the best care and support possible? If so, knowing the signs, symptoms and stages can help you significantly in your journey. Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer's Association®, is a type of dementia that causes an array of problems with memory, thinking and behavior.
Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia can be difficult to understand. Why do some people get dementia, and why do some never have a memory issue? What causes Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of memory loss? The answer comes down to biology. According to Winsome McLeod, Executive Director at YourLife™ of Stuart, a Memory Care community in Stuart, Florida, dementia is one of the most common issues facing seniors.
Facing a dementia diagnosis can be a turbulent rollercoaster ride of emotions that, understandably, not many families are eager to board. “We at YourLife know all too well how devastating a dementia diagnosis can be for families,” says Danielle Buck, Director of Community Relations at YourLife™ of Stuart, a Memory Care community in Stuart, Florida. “But acknowledging and coming to terms with a diagnosis is vital to ensuring that the person with dementia receives proper care and emotional and physical support as their disease progresses.
Simply getting older puts many of us at risk for developing new illnesses or chronic health conditions, so it’s not surprising that older adults with dementia often have one or more other chronic diseases that significantly impact their health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Diagnosing and treating coexisting conditions, however, can be difficult.
When many people hear the words Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, they often believe that they are both the same thing. In fact, many people believe that all forms of memory loss are dementia. While this is true to an extent, a better way of putting it is that various forms of memory loss fall under the umbrella of dementia.
A dementia diagnosis can be devastating, but it can help to remember there is power in being aware of the diagnosis and having the chance to plan. In fact, immense amounts of future stress and heartache can be avoided by making plans with your loved one now.
Each time you lose your keys – again – or forget a name – again – you might wonder if dementia is creeping in. While some memory loss is expected as we age, dementia isn’t, so it’s important to evaluate other risk factors in addition to aging.
Has your loved one’s dementia caused their get-up-and-go to, well, get up and go? “It’s quite common for people with memory loss to withdraw from activities they once enjoyed because they are depressed, worried about embarrassing themselves, or are afraid of failure,” says Michelle Straughn, Executive Director at YourLife™ of Tallahassee, a Memory Care community in Tallahassee, Florida.