You entirely forgot about the doctor’s appointment scheduled for last Monday, misplaced your glasses for the umpteenth time, and can’t remember the name of the new neighbor for the life of you. Are these problems with memory just a regular part of getting older, or could they signify the beginning of Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia?
The fear of developing Alzheimer’s is common; and growing, as dementia has garnered increasing awareness, resulting in anxieties about our own potential loss of independence and functionality, in addition to memory difficulties. Furthermore, it brings up questions regarding future care and living arrangements, if the time should come that support is necessary to remain safe and to tend to daily needs.
Yet it is important to understand that there are a number of reasons for forgetfulness which happen to be totally unrelated to dementia, and some level of problems with memory are simply part and parcel of aging. Recently available statistics show that only 5% of older adults ages 71 – 79 actually have dementia, though that number increases to 37% for people aged 90 and over.
The initial step is to speak with your primary care doctor about any cognitive impairment you’re experiencing, so you can receive a precise diagnosis and treatment. Before your appointment, pay attention to details such as:
- When the impairment began
- Whether it was a gradual or sudden decline
- If it is impacting day to day life: eating, getting dressed, taking care of personal hygiene needs, etc.
The physician will want to rule out issues that can mimic dementia – such as depression and delirium – as well as determine whether the issue might originate from medication 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 anyone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, or any other condition that affects the capacity to manage day to day life independently, Responsive Home Care, the leaders in home health care services in Fort Lauderdale, FL and surrounding areas, is always here to provide as much or as little assistance as necessary by well trained and experienced care professionals. A few of the many ways we can help seniors with dementia or other challenges remain safe, comfortable, and independent at home include:
- Assistance with personal care needs, like showering and dressing
- Running errands
- Planning and preparing meals
- Household chores
- Engaging activities and socialization
- And a lot more