If You're Concerned About Dementia
Recognize symptoms, changes in your brain
We are all aware that many things change as we age. In healthy aging, it's common to have trouble remembering names of people, places, and other things. However, it is important to know the difference between natural memory loss and dementia.
Dementia is not a disease. It is a name that describes a lack of reasoning or thinking that could interfere with your life. It can affect the brain functions that help you remember information, form sentences, read symbols or maps, or even solve simple everyday problems.
Symptoms vary for each person, but three primary stages are important to recognize.
In the early stage, a person may look distracted, confused, or have changes in behavior. But he or she may still be able to manage most tasks without help.
In the middle stage, more help is needed with regular tasks. A person may have trouble understanding friends and family members. They can get lost in familiar places. They also may grow anxious or unhappy.
In the late stage, it can create serious problems with memory, judgment, and other skills. Help is required with almost each aspect of their life.
Your health care team wants to know about any memory problems. They are also interested in other changes in your thinking and daily functions that you or your loved ones have noticed. Your doctor will check what is going on and determine whether it is due to dementia or normal aging. Then they can help you find ways to handle these problems better. Are you or someone you care about having memory problems that concern you? If yes, talk with your health care team and share your concerns. They can help you.
Remember, a dementia diagnosis doesn't mean you can't live your life. In fact, keeping active can help reduce some symptoms of dementia. Spend social time with friends and family. Get help managing your symptoms so you can keep up with your favorite activities. Eat healthy foods and take medications as directed. Get regular exercise. Have regular checkups with your health care provider. And keep up with your yearly flu shot and other vaccines. Learn more
Myths and Facts About Dementia
Caring for dementia: What to expect
Coping with Your Dementia Diagnosis
Updated July 21, 2020