Dementia, a collective term, used to describe a progressive cognitive decline is usually observed in the elderly. This syndrome affects one’s activities of daily living, behavior and cognitive ability. While some symptoms of dementia are similar to normal aging, the diagnosis of dementia factor into a wide variety of symptoms. Usually, dementia is preceded by a deterioration in one’s emotional control, behavior and motivation.
We all experience some amount of forgetfulness. However, people with dementia find it difficult to recall things that were once easy for them. This is the most common sign of dementia.
What happened in dementia?
In this, a person forgets information recently learned important dates or events. They tend to ask the same question or repeat the same information. They need memory aids and family members to help them do things that they could easily do.
How is it different from normal ageing? Forgetting names, dates, or appointments but remembering them later.
We’re now going to take your through the common changes noted in the elderly and help you differentiate how it looks for people with dementia and forgetting in normal aging.
Difficulty Planning and Organizing
Some people find it difficult to develop or follow a plan or work with numbers. It usually shows up in difficulty with basic calculations, paying bills, taking change from a teller, following a recipe. They may have difficulty concentrating and take a lot longer to do things
How is it different from normal aging? Making occasional errors on a specific project plan or work.
Difficulty completing familiar tasks
Some find it difficult to manage a budget, drive/walk to a familiar location, or remembering basic rules.
How is it different from normal aging? Occasionally needing help with tasks.
Confusion with orientation to time and place
Some people with dementia often lose track of dates, seasons and passage of time. They may feel lost and cannot remember exactly where they are. They may forget where they are or how they got there.
How is it different from normal aging? Getting confused about the date, day of the week or time but figuring it out later.
Difficulty understanding visual images and spatial relations
Some people find it difficult to read, judge distance, determine color and contrast. They may walk past a mirror and not recognize themselves in the mirror.
How is it different from normal aging? Vision changes related to cataract or a change in eye number.
Problems with words, writing or speaking
Some people with dementia may experience new problems in remembering the right word, writing a familiar sentence or participating in a conversation. They may tend to stop in a middle of conversation, repeat themselves and find it difficult to continue the conversation.
How is it different from normal aging? Occasionally finding it difficult to find the right word.
Misplacing things and difficulty retrieving them
Some people may begin to put things in unusual places, lose things and unable to backtrack to find it again. They may often accuse people of stealing things because they cannot remember where they kept it or what they did with it.
How is it different from normal aging? Misplacing things like spectacles, remote or a watch but finding it later.
Decreased poor judgement
Some people with dementia may experience a drop in their ability to make decisions and judgement. They may pay less attention to their hygiene, and grooming.
How is it different from normal aging? Occasionally making a bad decision.
Withdrawal from Social Activities
Some people with dementia tend to distance themselves from their hobbies, work, and avoid social interaction. They may find it difficult to keep up with sports they ardently followed, difficulty remembering the rules of a game, difficulty remembering how to complete their favorite hobby and avoid social interaction because of these changes.
How is it different from normal aging? Occasionally feeling unmotivated, fatigued of work, weary of social obligations and tired of family
Changes in Mood and Personality
Some people with dementia feel confused, disoriented, depressed, fearful, suspicious or anxious. They may easily feel agitated, frustrated, and upset with people at home or at work.
How is it different from normal aging? Developing certain ways of doing things and becoming irritated when things are tampered with or changed.