You forgot about the doctor’s appointment scheduled for last Tuesday, misplaced your reading glasses for the umpteenth time, and can’t remember the name of the new neighbor for the life of you. Is it just a standard part of aging, or could it be the mild cognitive impairment that indicates the start of Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia?
The fear of developing dementia is not uncommon; and growing, as dementia has gained increased awareness, contributing to worries about our own potential loss of independence and functionality, in addition to memory challenges. It also raises questions regarding future living and care arrangements, if the time should come that assistance is needed to remain safe and to take care of everyday needs.
However, it’s important to know there are a variety of triggers for forgetfulness which happen to be totally unrelated to Alzheimer’s, and some amount of memory decline is merely part and parcel of aging. Recently available statistics show that only 5% of older adults ages 71 – 79 actually have dementia; however, that number increases to 37% for those aged 90 and over.
The first step is to consult with your primary care physician about any mild cognitive impairment you are experiencing, so that you can receive an accurate diagnosis and treatment. Before your appointment, take note of details such as:
- When the impairment started
- Whether it was a gradual or sudden decline
- If it is impacting everyday life: eating, getting dressed, taking care of personal hygiene needs, etc.
The physician will want to eliminate problems that can mimic dementia – such as depression and delirium – as well as assess whether the issue may stem from medication side effects. Dementia progresses slowly, and in addition to memory deficits, can impact the ability to:
- Reason, judge, and problem-solve
- Focus and pay attention
For anyone diagnosed with dementia, or any other condition that affects the ability to manage day to day life independently, Atlanta Home Care Partners, the leaders in elderly care in Atlanta and surrounding areas, is always available to provide as much or as little help as needed by thoroughly trained and experienced care professionals. A few of the various ways we are able to help seniors with dementia or other challenges remain safe, comfortable, and independent at home include:
- Help with personal care needs, like showering and getting dressed
- Transportation to medical appointments and enjoyable outings
- Running errands
- Planning and preparing meals
- Household tasks
- Engaging activities and socialization
- And much more