Mom can’t remember where her keys are. Dad got lost driving to the grocery store. Children often hear these comments about their parents or grandparents and wonder, is it normal aging or dementia? As we age, it is common to have what many refer to as “Senior Moments”. These moments can include occasional word-finding difficulties or forgetfulness. The biggest difference is that dementia causes impairment in social functioning and independent living. Normal aging does not. Independent living describes the ability to shop alone, manage finances, perform basic household duties and perform personal care tasks. Another difference is that with normal aging, the person is usually more concerned about alleged forgetfulness than are close family members. With dementia, the opposite is true.
Some of the common symptoms to watch for with dementia include:
- Getting lost in familiar places
- Forgetfulness of recent events
- Changes in hygiene
- Changes in language ability
- Repetitive questioning
- Socially inappropriate behaviors
- Changes in dietary habits
- Decreased organization skills
- Personality changes
If you suspect that a loved one is having changes that are related to dementia, it is important to have an evaluation by a medical professional. Early intervention can slow the decline of the disease. It may also be beneficial to consult a Nurse Care Manager to assist in developing a plan of care to address the current needs and plan for the future.