As your loved ones enter their golden years, they may start to become more forgetful. You may even start to worry whether they might have dementia. Learn more about the difference between dementia and memory loss so that you can know whether your loved ones have dementia and how you can help them if they have dementia.
Reasons for Memory Loss and Dementia
Research shows that if your loved ones have dementia, their brain cells have been damaged. This affects their ability to communicate. However, if your loved ones are experiencing memory loss, it is because the hormones and proteins that protect and repair their brain cells and stimulate the neural growth in their brains decline as they age.
Your loved ones may also experience physiological changes that can cause them to be unable to function as well. Their hippocampus may also degenerate in their later years, causing them to experience memory loss. They may also have decreased blood flow to their brains, causing them to have memory lapses in their later years.
Differences Between Memory Loss and Dementia
One difference between memory loss and dementia is that memory loss is associated with aging, your loved ones may only be occasionally forgetful. However, if they have dementia, they may start to regularly forget.
Moreover, if your loved ones have memory loss associated with aging, they may be less able to retrieve information. However, they are still able to function on their own. They would also have little trouble socializing and communicating. Although their reactions might become slower, their judgment and decision-making ability would remain the same even in their later years. They may also be less able to multi-task, especially if distracted.
However, if your loved one has dementia, you may notice they find it difficult to perform basic tasks. They may also have problems in communicating, making choices, and exercising proper judgment. Cognitively, they could forget about recent events and have difficulty in concentrating and in pattern recognition and spatial reasoning. Socially, they may withdraw from others or lose interest in their hobbies. They may also become more irritable than usual.
Treatments for Dementia
If your loved ones do have dementia, you can try cholinesterase inhibitors to help boost their memory and judgment. You can also simplify tasks and set a routine for your loved ones. Help to reduce clutter and noise in their environment so that they can focus better. You can encourage them to exercise regularly and to participate in activities they might enjoy.
With these differences between memory loss and dementia, you can learn how to spot whether your loved ones are having dementia. If your loved ones are having dementia, it might be a struggle for you occasionally. If you require assistance, you can consider transitioning them to our memory care program at TerraBella Lake Norman that will help provide the best care for your loved ones so that they can live their lives meaningfully.