Often I am asked what is the difference between normal aging and dementia. Although there are physical and cognitive changes for many as we age, most changes slow us down but do not interfere with our daily functioning. Here is a list which helps clarify the difference between normal aging and dementia which is disease based.
Independence in daily activities Complains of memory loss but able to provide considerable detail regarding incidents of forgetfulness Individual more concerned about memory loss than family members Recent memory for important events, affairs, conversations, not impaired Occasional word finding difficulties and substitutes Does not get lost in familiar territory, but may have to pause to remember Able to operate common appliances Maintains prior level of interpersonal social skills
Person becomes dependent on others for key independent living activities Unable to recall instances where forgetfulness was noticed Close family members more concerned about incidents of memory loss than individual Notable decline in memory for recent events Frequent word-finding pauses Gets lost in familiar territory, may take hours to return home Unable to operate common appliances, unable to learn even simple new appliance Exhibits loss of interest in social activities, exhibits social inappropriate behavior
Vivian Green Korner, MA, Certified Dementia Practitioner, is a dementia care specialist in private practice. She works with families who need guidance, direction and help with decisions that they need to make when caring for an individual with dementia. Vivian’s goal is to support families with practical advice, solutions to deal with the many challenges and help families to find the best match to programs, services and professionals. Viviangreenkorner.com |