Dementia and Aging Aren’t Synonomous

25 Jun

I had my introduction to dementia on my uncle’s 91st birthday. He had been hospitalized and it was the first time I heard the term Lewy Body disease. Prior to his late 80s my uncle’s retirement years were anything but typical: at 65 he started a business and ran it quite successfully for well over 20 years. He read voraciously and could converse about complicated subjects with utter confidence.  He lived independently and his only health complaints were poor hearing and arthritic knees.

Looking back, signs of my uncle having dementia appeared long before that visit to the hospital. But I mistakenly believed those indicators were part and parcel with aging. I naively thought his increasing habit of repeating the same story over and over again was funny. It was only after he had several falls and started swearing at me that I suspected something more than normal aging was at play.


Significantly more older people than younger people will over time be diagnosed with a form of dementia because the likelihood of acquiring dementia becomes greater with age.But contrary to popular belief, dementia is not a normal part of aging.

Our brains shrink as we get older and we will experience some memory loss. But dementia is much more than just memory loss. And everyone who lives to a certain age is not destined to have dementia.  What I’ve learned since beginning my journey into life among the sandwich generation is the ubiquitous image of the dotty old aunt is a myth. Sadly it is a myth perpetuated far too often.

If you have an aging family member who is demonstrating short-term memory loss or change in personality, insist his or her doctor administer a mini mental status exam (MMSE). This is a standardized test used by the medical field to screen for cognitive impairment.

Early diagnosis won’t stop dementia from progressing, but the right medication could help to reverse or slow it down.  Early diagnosis will also help you and your family make plans for future care while your loved one is still able to have a say about how he or she wants their personal, medical and financial affairs handled.

If you would like to know more about aging and brain health, contact your local Alzheimer Society.

Enhanced by Zemanta
Advertisements

One Response to “Dementia and Aging Aren’t Synonomous”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Dementia | Life On My Lane - February 28, 2013

    […] Dementia. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

JVS Career Voice

Our experts share career and employment advice

My Neighbor Miss D

“When are you taking me home?“

thesolomonconnection

A topnotch WordPress.com site

ParliamentCouture

Style, Spectacle and Performance on Canada's Political Stage

Living with Dementia

Diary from a 20 something caring for her nan

CYBJECT

"And whatever harm those do who slander the world, the harm done by the good is the most harmful harm." - Zarathustra

ann ahnemouse

Just another WordPress.com site. (c) 2011-2013 Ann Ahnemouse

On Crawford St.

Aging Issues and Navigating Eldercare from the inside of the Sandwich

Melanie Simons

Marketing Communications and Project Management

Design Destination:

a blog about contemporary design

Shared Voices

Exploring people, places and things related to AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication)

Gluten-Free Gluttony

Eating gluten-free has never been this gluttonous

Random Relevance

Because I Want to Blog About Any & Everything

mygijourney

The rise of a health nut

CYBJECT

Aging Issues and Navigating Eldercare from the inside of the Sandwich

A Two-Way Street

Student Communications in the 21st Century

%d bloggers like this: