Mom forgot where she put her purse. Dad struggled to remember his brother’s name. Moments like these make everyone wonder: Is it Alzheimer’s or normal aging? Since June is National Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness month, we at Hamilton Grove Healthcare and Rehabilitation are presenting a short guide to knowing the difference.
While we might be alarmed when we or our loved one has a lapse in memory or thinking skills, it’s important to know that nearly half of all people over 65 experience some memory loss; this is not part of any disease process, it’s simply a normal feature of aging.
If Mom only occasionally misplaces her purse, and she can usually retrace her steps to find it, then it’s probably just what doctors call, normal “age-associated memory impairment.” If, however, Mom starts to regularly be unable to find what she’s misplaced, if she starts putting her purse in the refrigerator or other unusual place, or if she starts accusing people of stealing her purse, it might be a sign of Alzheimer’s.
Forgetting a name and being unable to come up with a word is a classic “senior moment.” If Dad remembers the name later, it’s normal aging. However, if he is increasingly unable to remember names, dates, or events, or if he continually asks to be reminded of the same information, it could be Alzheimer’s.
The Alzheimer’s Association has a helpful list of ten ways to distinguish between Alzheimer’s and normal aging. And if you have any doubt, see a doctor right away. There are many treatments for Alzheimer’s, and early detection yields the best outcomes.
Currently, 5.7 million Americans has Alzheimer’s, and every 65 seconds, someone in America is diagnosed with it. It is estimated that 1 in every 3 seniors will die with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. For that reason, it’s important to know which healthcare facilities have special training in handling Alzheimer’s and similar diseases.
In addition to being a rehabilitation center and skilled nursing center, Hamilton Grove Healthcare and Rehabilitation, in Mercer County, New Jersey, has a dedicated Alzheimer’s and Memory Care unit, where we help our residents improve their cognitive function and quality of life in a safe, secure, and beautiful environment.
If Mom or Dad does start to show signs of something more than normal, age-associated memory impairment, give us a call and see how we can help.