Memory and Cognition in Seniors

  • Some memory lapses are normal parts of aging. Not every forgotten name is a sign that a person is developing Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia.
  • Differentiating between normal memory lapses and a cognitive disease is difficult for people to do on their own. However, physicians have tools and tests to assist with this process.
  • Unlike normal declines in memory that come with age, Alzheimer’s and other diseases are characterized by gradually worsening abilities to work, interact socially, or understand what is appropriate behavior.
  • A person with Alzheimer’s is more likely to misplace items in inappropriate places, such as putting keys in the microwave, forgetting common words, or going through sudden and unpredictable changes in mood.
  • Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., and one in three seniors die having Alzheimer’s or a related dementia.
  • While there are no known disease-modifying treatments or cures, there are things that individuals and families can do to better cope with the diagnosis and remain connected to people and activities they enjoy.
  • While pursuing a diagnosis may be scary, talking with your family and doctor is critically important. For one, various conditions or medications can cause symptoms of memory loss and can be treated. Further, early intervention may play a role in combating one’s rate of cognitive decline.

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