Memory Loss or Dementia?
Everyone has dealt with memory loss at one point or another. Misplacing keys, forgetting where you parked your car, or forgetting faces or names of people you have met. At what point does normal, everyday forgetfulness become a serious problem?
Normal Memory Changes or Dementia Symptoms?
- Complains about memory loss but able to provide detailed examples of forgetfulness
- Occasionally searches for words
- May have to pause to remember directions, but doesn't get lost in familiar places
- Remembers recent important events; conversations are not impaired
- Interpersonal social skills are at the same level as they've always been
Symptoms of Dementia:
- May complain of memory loss only if asked; unable to recall specific instances
- Frequent word-finding pauses, substitutions
- Gets lost in familiar places and takes excessive time to return home
- Notable decline in memory for recent events and ability to converse
- Loss of interest in social activities; may behave in socially inappropriate ways
If you suspect dementia:
- Report your symptoms to your doctor as soon as possible and schedule regular follow up visits.
- Keep a list of your symptoms and concerns and ask family members for their observations. Write down specific information about the frequency, nature and setting of your memory, cognitive, or behavior concerns.
- Take charge by learning as much about dementia as you can. Knowing what to expect will help you plan, adjust and live life as fully as possible.