What's the difference between dementia and normal aging-01 featured image

Dementia VS Normal Aging

The aging process influences many changes in a person’s physical, sensory, and cognitive abilities. The decrease in muscle strength and flexibility, decline in vision, hearing, and smell, as well as slow information processing, are among the changes in the body, impacting their capability in performing tasks.

Although these changes are expected as people grow old, one factor often becomes a health concern for many – memory loss. People going through the normal aging process will have subtle changes in memory, making them forget recent events, such as where they last placed the keys or forget the name of the person they just met.

However, when people’s memory loss prevents them from doing their daily tasks or interferes with their quality of life, it becomes a health concern that needs attention and further evaluations of doctors.

Most of the time, people associate memory loss with aging and dementia. However, not every cognitive impairment will be diagnosed with the disease, mainly when memory loss falls short within the numerous symptoms of dementia.

People who fall between the cognitive changes of normal aging and dementia are diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). People with the disorder typically presents objective evidence of cognitive impairment but can still function independently, or their impairment does not significantly affect their day-to-day lives. The main distinction between MCI and dementia is that more than one cognitive domain is involved and interferes with a person’s daily life.

Mild Cognitive Impairment is often considered an early sign of dementia, but not everyone diagnosed with the disease will develop Alzheimer’s. However, it is also worth noting that people with MCI may have an increased risk of developing a form of dementia. Various studies have shown that approximately 10% to 15% of people with it develop dementia each year.

Understanding the difference between normal aging, MCI, and dementia, as well as knowing the different symptoms of each, will help seniors and their families take better actions, such as going to the doctor to get a formal diagnosis and, if necessary, better medication management.

An early diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment can lower the risks of people developing forms of dementia. Furthermore, it will help families know how to assist their senior loved ones with MCI to maintain their quality of life.

Though there are necessary adjustments to a person’s lifestyle, the goal for families wanting to help their senior loved ones is to find a balance where they can maintain a reasonable degree of independence while ensuring their safety.

Among the things that require adjustment for seniors with MCI is household management. Various tasks, such as cooking, housekeeping, laundry, and even taking medications, may become difficult and may pose safety risks. To ensure continued participation in household activities and provide seniors with independence, families often hire caregivers CT to have an extra helping hand in assisting their loved ones.

They can discuss options about having hourly elderly care or Hourly Caregivers in Southbury CT, depending on how their senior members can independently manage household tasks in the future.

To learn more about the difference between dementia and normal aging and what adjustments families may need to make, read this infographic by Euro-American Connections & Homecare.