You altogether forgot about the physician’s appointment scheduled for last Thursday, misplaced your reading glasses for the umpteenth time, and can’t remember the name of your new neighbor for the life of you. Are senior forgetfulness and problems with memory normal? Or could it be the beginning of Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia?
The fear of developing Alzheimer’s is not uncommon; and growing, as dementia has garnered increased attention, resulting in anxieties about our own possible decrease in independence and functionality, as well as memory challenges. Furthermore, it brings up questions about future care and living arrangements, if the time should come that assistance is necessary to remain safe and to take care of daily needs.
Nonetheless, it’s essential to know there are numerous causes of senior forgetfulness which are entirely unrelated to Alzheimer’s, and some amount of memory impairment is simply part and parcel of aging. Recently available statistics show that only 5% of older adults ages 71 – 79 actually have dementia; however, that number increases to 37% for those aged 90 and over.
The initial step is to speak with your primary care physician about any cognitive impairment you are experiencing, so you can receive a definitive diagnosis and treatment. Prior to your appointment, take note of details such as:
- When the impairment began
- Whether it was a sudden or gradual decline
- If it is impacting daily life: getting dressed, eating, taking care of personal hygiene needs, etc.
The doctor will want to eliminate conditions that can mimic dementia – such as depression and delirium – as well as see whether the problem may originate from treatment side effects. Dementia progresses slowly, and in addition to memory deficits, can impact the ability to:
- Reason, judge, and problem-solve
- Focus and pay attention
For those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, or any other condition that affects the ability to manage everyday life independently, Midnight Sun Home Care is always here to provide as much or as little help as needed by well trained and experienced care professionals. A few of the many ways we can enable older adults with dementia or other challenges to remain safe, comfortable, and independent at home include:
- Help with personal care needs, such as showering and dressing
- Transportation to enjoyable outings and medical appointments
- Errand running
- Planning and preparing meals
- Household chores
- Engaging activities and socialization
- And much more