I find it almost unbelievable when I heard that 35.6 million people in Canada have Alzheimer’s and that number is expected to double in the next 20 years (Stats Canada). Alzheimer’s and the many other forms of dementia are vastly responsible for the impaired mental functionality including memory loss, impaired communication and language skills, the inability to focus or pay attention, and much more.
What dementia is NOT
Dementia is a very complex medical condition. It isn’t strictly age related. In fact, serious mental decline, which can be seen in those with dementia, is not a normal part of aging. Everyone forgets from time to time, the main difference in those with dementia and other memory issues is the degree to which the daily life of the person is impacted.
In order to help you tell the difference between normal age-related memory issues and dementia, I have listed five potential signs of dementia below. If you have any further questions, you can give one of Yurek Pharmacy’s pharmacists a call at 519 631 3330.
5 POTENTIAL SIGNS OF DEMENTIA:
1. DIFFICULTY PLANNING OR SOLVING PROBLEMS
For example, when simple tasks such as following directions to a recipe or following a plan become more difficult or complicated. Problems concentrating is also a common sign of the beginning of dementia.
2. TROUBLE WITH ONCE-FAMILIAR TASKS
For example, they forget how to play one of their favourite card games or they can’t make their way home from the grocery store without getting lost. A decreased ability to complete routine tasks is a more noticeable sign of dementia. Because performing tasks like these should be completed without thinking, any noticeable changes in someone’s ability to complete a common task requires attention.
3. NEW PROBLEMS WHEN COMMUNICATING
For example, repeating or forgetting what they just said or not being able to find the correct word, are common communication issues for those with dementia. They may even stop participating in conversations all together.
4. WITHDRAWAL FROM SOCIAL OR WORK ACTIVITIES
Often times, when someone starts to experience the mental issues that come with dementia, they often remove themselves from social activities they used to love such as playing cards with friends or going out for dinners. They may also become more withdrawn at work and no longer feel like talking or interacting with co-workers. These changes and withdrawal may be due to denial, personality changes or fearfulness.
5. MEMORY LOSS DISRUPTIVE TO DAILY LIFE
Memory lapses happen everyone, but it hardly handicaps our day. During the early days of dementia, forgetting newinformation is very common. Other notable signs of severe memory problems include:
– Forgetting important dates or events like birthdays.
– Repeatedly asking for the same information that was already given.
– An increasing reliance on memory aids such as a smart phone or tablet.
– An increasing reliance on others to remember for them.
Unfortunately, there currently is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease or any of the forms of progressive dementia. Drug treatments are available that may help relieve some symptoms; ask a Yurek Pharmacist for more information.