Understanding Dementia and its Impact
Dementia is a common problem in older people that affects the ability to remember, think, and make decisions. It is a common fear of those facing old age and it is a growing concern...

Dementia is a common problem in older people that affects the ability to remember, think, and make decisions. It is a common fear of those facing old age and it is a growing concern among baby boomers today. According to a recent item, more than 5 million Americans have been diagnosed with dementia. About 5% of people aged 71 to 79 suffer from its impact, while almost 37% of those entering their 90s are living with dementia. Experts expect these numbers to increase.

man with dementia looking at photo album

Dementia itself is not a disease, but rather a term used to describe a collection of symptoms associated with impaired cognitive function and memory. But beyond a set of symptoms, dementia is a human experience that affects life in multiple ways - some of which can be quite difficult. It is important that those affected by the disease (including caregivers and family members of those who have it) understand what dementia is and how it can affect those who have it.

Many people approaching old age worry about the loss of their functions and the costs associated with those who care for them. The estimated cost of lifelong care for someone with Alzheimer's disease, which is the most common form of dementia, is estimated at nearly $ 330,000 according to a 2018 study; however, this cost will certainly increase in the years to come.

Living with dementia also has a huge emotional, psychological and social impact on a person. Many people with this disease find it difficult to adjust and describe the impacts they have suffered as a series of losses. They lose their self-confidence, self-esteem, social relationships and roles, the ability to carry out their favorite hobbies or activities, their daily living skills and their independence.

It is also important to understand that memory loss on its own is not sufficient for the diagnosis of dementia. A detailed medical examination is necessary for the diagnosis - and sometimes brain imaging is necessary. There are many types of memory loss that are due to different causes.

Normal memory loss

Everyone experiences cognitive changes as they age, including reduced memory. Maybe you meet someone in public but don't remember their name until later. Or maybe you forgot where you installed your wallet. It is a normal part of life and aging.

The problem becomes worse when your forgetfulness becomes repetitive, such as forgetting the name of someone you see daily or regularly losing track of your keys or wallet.

If you have memory problems but it does not interfere with daily lifestyle activities like dressing, eating, and hygiene, then you may have what is called mild cognitive impairment. It can be diagnosed by your doctor and monitored.

Memory loss related to dementia

While many memory problems are normal and manageable, in some cases they can be a sign of early cognitive decline. If you or a loved one is suffering from symptoms such as confusion, forgetting loved ones, loss or inability to perform previously easy cognitive tasks, dementia could be the cause. According to Alzheimer Association, other signs of dementia may include difficulty with:
  • Pay your bills
  • Keep track of a wallet or purse
  • Remember appointments
  • Meal preparation
  • Short term memory

Problems with dementia start out slowly and gradually get worse over time. If you or someone you care about is having trouble with memory or other changes in thinking, you should discuss this with your doctor. Your brain-related symptoms can be due to a number of conditions such as vitamin deficiency or poor sleep.

A person with symptoms of dementia may be frightened and thus avoid seeking help; This is completely normal. But an even bigger problem is undiagnosed or unrecognized dementia. It's important to take decisive action and make sure that your health or that of your loved one is in good hands.

Find out more about how you can improve your memory and reduce your risk of dementia, please contact us at NeuroGrow.com.

This article was written by Ms Courtney Cosby and edited by Dr Majid Fotuhi.

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