Are you having difficulty remembering things? They might not be signs of dementia and could be just memory loss as a normal part of aging.
Note from memory care in Rancho Mirage: Please keep in mind that the information in this post should not be used as a diagnostic tool, nor is it a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have concerns that you or a loved one has dementia, please consult with your doctor.
Aging is a natural part of life. As we get older, our bodies and brains gradually start to change. These changes may impact our mental and physical capabilities as well as raise our risk of disease.
However, we all experience aging in our own way. The extent to which aging affects us, and at what point we will start to notice these changes, is different for each individual.
The world health organization (WHO) confirms that everybody should be able to live long and healthy lives, what is known as healthy aging.
Factors Affecting Aging
Genetic factors influence aging, as well as what kind of lives we lead. Environment and lifestyle unsurprisingly play a large part in how well we age.
In general, we can age more healthily by challenging our brains, eating more healthy food, and staying socially and physically active, as well as incorporating other healthy living choices.
While there is never any guarantee of a healthy and long life without disease, the above are the methods for lowering our risk of diseases and keeping us healthy as we get older.
What Happens to My Memory as I Age?
As we continue to get older, it’s normal to be concerned regarding our mental capabilities. After all, we would like to continue going on with our daily routines, remain self-sufficient, and remember the best times of our lives. And we don’t want to worry about our memory, especially dementia. For these folks, memory care in Rancho Mirage is a great option. It makes living with dementia or Alzheimer’s much easier to bear.
The Majority of People Won’t Have Problems With Their Memory
Most people will still have a good memory as they age. How we remember things won’t rapidly change or get worse. When we’re old, we keep the knowledge and skills we obtained during our earlier years.
Some People Will Have Memory Loss
Approximately 40% of people will have some kind of memory loss after passing age 65. However, even for those people, it’s unlikely that they will develop dementia. Most of the time, memory loss remains mild enough that our lives can continue as normal each day without any interruptions.
A Smaller Percentage of People Will Develop Dementia
According to the WHO, after turning 60, 5-8% of people will develop dementia eventually. When living with dementia, memory loss will be just one symptom that will get worse and worse. Eventually, other abilities will also worsen to the point that they won’t be able to take care of themselves anymore.
So why is there such a huge difference in the percentage of people who experience memory loss and those who live with dementia? Basically, there are varying degrees of memory loss. Furthermore, not all memory loss is considered dementia. So this begs the question, how can we tell which is which?
Memory Loss Associated With Age
If you have difficulties with memory, but:
- They aren’t noticeable in your daily life
- They don’t hinder your ability to complete your normal tasks
- You are still able to learn and remember new information and
- You have no underlying medical conditions that would cause memory issues
Then you will be grappling with what’s known as age-associated memory impairment.
This condition is considered a normal aspect of getting older. It does NOT mean that you have dementia.
While you might have trouble recalling information occasionally, such as where you placed your keys, a website password, or the name of one of your former classmates, this still does not mean that you have dementia. You might not be able to recall things as fast as you could before. Still, there is no need to feel worried or concerned.
Cognitive Impairment (Mild)
There is a middle area between age-associated memory impairment and dementia: mild cognitive impairment, or MCI. As you would expect from the name, MCI symptoms are mild. You do experience memory loss as well as other issues like difficulty speaking and disorientation. However, they are not bad enough to disrupt your normal daily routines and activities.
With all that being said, if you do have MCI, then you are also more susceptible to developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease compared to if you just had age-related memory decline.
Now let’s talk about dementia. If your memory loss is severe enough to where the following are true:
- It affects your daily life and prevents you from sticking to a normal routine
- It’s hard for you to learn new things
- You find it hard to do tasks that you’ve done before and are already familiar with, and
- The people nearest to you are also beginning to see changes in your abilities
These signs are often seen in people who are in the beginning stages of dementia. At this point, it’s a good idea to start considering memory care in Rancho Mirage.
Looking at the Signs
Signs of memory problems in normal aging vs. dementia can be distinguished in numerous ways.
Here are some examples. Again, this is not meant to be used as a diagnostic tool.
Normal Aging Memory Loss Signs:
- You can’t recall the details of some event or conversation that happened a year ago.
- You sometimes forget the name of an acquaintance
- You sometimes forget stuff or events.
- You sometimes have trouble finding the right words to use.
- You feel concerned with your memory, but the people closest to you do not.
Telltale Signs of Dementia:
- You cannot remember the details of recent conversations or events
- You cannot remember or recognize the names of family members
- You often forget events or other things
- You often pause to find the right words and/or substitute words often in conversations
- Relatives and friends are concerned with your memory, but you personally don’t notice any problems.