3 Differences between Typical Aging and Onset Dementia
Throughout the course of a day, managing busy schedules with numerous appointments, meetings and obligations can be difficult. All of us can recall a time or two where a lapse in memory left us peeling out of the driveway to pick up Johnny from soccer practice that ended an hour ago.
Apart from these occasional lapses in memory, you or an aging loved one may experience changes in your daily lives that may be an early sign of dementia. If you have been experiencing unusual changes in your ability to perform your daily routine or have observed a loved one who has, take a look at the differences between normal aging and dementia symptoms below.
- Typical Aging: As you get older, it’s nothing out of the ordinary if you feel that your memory isn’t as sharp as it used to be. It may take you longer to process information or find the right words to say, but that’s nothing to worry about. You may need to pause to remember directions, but you don’t get lost in familiar places or have any trouble remembering familiar landmarks.
- Dementia: You feel that your struggles with memory are more intense than what was described above. You may be frequently forgetting information that you just learned or have a hard time recalling specific instances. You retain memories from years past while struggling to remember what you had for breakfast or where you’ve placed things like that matching sock. Finding the right words to say will become increasingly difficult and you will find yourself getting lost in previously familiar places.
- Typical Aging: Aging generally should not affect your ability to be the fun-loving person you have always been. You still have complete control over your ability to interact with others. At some points, however, it is not out of the ordinary to feel wary about personal interactions or social obligations. Who doesn’t dread getting their mail when their cranky neighbor is mowing his lawn? We’re all creatures of habit, so don’t worry if you become irritable when your daily routine is disrupted.
- Dementia: Changes in interactions for people with dementia can go one of two ways. If you’re known as the shy one in your family, you might find yourself being overly friendly and outgoing because your ability to make decisions and exercise judgment has been affected. Perhaps you become louder, or you have more of an outspoken opinion, either way it can cause a substantial change in your personality.
On the other hand, you may become depressed and want to withdraw from social activities because you’ve lost interest in spending time with friends and family. You can become impatient with the grandkids, not wanting to spend as much time with them and getting easily irritated by the things that kids do. Whether you catch yourself acting that way or it’s pointed out to you, it can be a symptom you shouldn’t ignore.
- Typical Aging: Occasionally forgetting to carry the one while balancing your checkbook is nothing out of the ordinary. All the technological gizmos and gadgets today can be a little overwhelming to try to figure out, so don’t worry if you need help using the settings on your appliances or recording a television show from time to time. Despite occasional lapses, you should be able to maintain your control over daily chores and obligations.
- Dementia: Performing daily tasks like cooking, balancing a checkbook or writing a letter are considerably more difficult for people with dementia. You might find yourself struggling to follow the rules of your favorite game or you can no longer grasp the storyline from your favorite book or movie. Another warning sign is the repetition of tasks that you have already completed in a day. You might find yourself going to mow the lawn when it has just been cut or to wash the dishes after you already put them away.
The aging process affects us all in different ways and we hope you have learned a little bit more about how to identify the difference between aging and dementia. If you find yourself or a loved one identifying more with the descriptions that fall under dementia, don’t worry. Some symptoms of dementia can even be reversed. Cariloop wants to help you find caregivers who know how to stand alongside you or your loved one and get you through your normal daily life. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, that’s why we’re here!