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12 Sep 2018

Dementia vs Normal Aging


Topics: Alzheimers, Dementia, Growing Old

In Canada, 1 in 11 people over the age of 65 has some form of Dementia and the risk of being diagnosed doubles every five years thereafter.

With such figures, many misconceptions can follow including what is normal aging versus Dementia.

Some examples of normal aging include:

  • Continues to be independent in daily activities
  • May complain of memory loss, but is still able to provide considerable details about incidents
  • Occasional word finding difficulties.
  • Does not get lost in familiar areas
  • Able to operate common appliances
  • Maintains prior level of social skills

Often, we tend to normalize aspects of Dementia as normal aging and it’s important to be able to separate the two. The following are signs of early Dementia:

  • Person becomes critically dependent on others for key independent living activities.
  • Only complains of memory problems if asked.
  • Memory worsens with time.
  • Notable decline in memory for recent events.
  • Frequent word-finding pauses & substitutions.
  • Lost in familiar areas.
  • Unable to operate common appliances.
  • Loss of interest in social activities

Genetics, lifestyle and nutrition all contribute to aging well if managed properly. Keeping active is certainly necessary to help keep the mind active and body in good shape.

If you suspect a loved one has some signs of Dementia please have them visit their family doctor where you will likely be referred to a memory clinic along with bloodwork and diagnostic testing.

There are also community agencies like the Alzheimer’s Society who have a lot of resources regarding Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.