The Alzheimer’s Association defines dementia as, “a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life.” In order to be considered dementia, a person must be experiencing an impairment in their social functioning and in their ability to live independently. Dementia is a term that is used to describe several different brain ailments. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease.
As we grow older and our bodies change, it is natural to lose some aspects of our physical abilities. Our response times can grow slower due to many different factors, such as loss of hearing or eyesight, decreased strength, or less stamina. So when are changes just a normal part of aging, and when are they a sign of something more serious?
During normal aging, our bodies may slow down some, but our intelligence level does not decrease. A person who is experiencing normal aging can still perform most or all activities of daily life, even if that person is hindered a bit by some of their body’s changes. A person who is experiencing the early stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia goes through changes that can affect their daily life significantly.
Alzheimer’s causes mental decline that is severe enough to affect one’s ability to interpret life. Dementia affects memory, communication, speech and language, focus, reasoning, judgment, the ability to pay attention, and one’s perception of shapes and symbols. Some of the early signs of Alzheimer’s include:
- Getting lost more and more often
- Asking the same questions over and over
- Acting odd or inappropriately
- Personality changes
- Changes in eating habits or diet
- Sudden changes in hygiene
- Difficulty understanding language
If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms similar to those discussed and those symptoms seem to only be progressing, these may be the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Talk to your doctor about the next steps you should take.