Everyone occasionally forgets where they put their keys, an important appointment or to water their plants. Mental health experts agree that forgetting information once in a while is completely normal. As people age, they may experience an increased amount of forgetfulness. This makes it easy to dismiss forgetfulness as a part of everyday life and overlook some potential symptoms of dementia.
What is dementia?
Dementia is a general term that encompasses many different types of memory loss. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. An estimated 50 million people around the world have some form of dementia. It is most common in individuals over the age of 65; however, it can affect people who are much younger.
Symptoms of dementia
Though everyone occasionally experiences the symptoms that characterize dementia, this isn’t enough for a dementia diagnosis. The crucial part of a dementia diagnoses is having these symptoms often enough that they effect every day life. These symptoms include:
- Memory loss
- Difficulty with concentration
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Difficulty in carrying out tasks that were once very familiar
- Struggling to find the right word or staying focused in a conversation
- Confusion with time and place
- Severe mood swings
How an aging in place community may help
Aging in place is a term for seniors being able to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. During the early stages of dementia, it is easier for seniors to age in place than during later stages; however, seniors who age in place for as long as possible do better physically, emotionally and mentally. Seniors grow used to their surroundings. Having a home that they know along with caretakers they trust can help decrease the symptoms of dementia. Taking a senior out of this situation and place them in a nursing home can be such a traumatic experience that it can cause severe declines in a senior’s health. Home health aides and respite caregivers can help seniors age in place for a longer period of time. This will allow family members to spend more time with them and prevent the worsening of dementia symptoms.