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When is it Dementia?
The Difference Between Normal Memory Loss and Dementia

Dementia is defined as deterioration of intellectual processes caused by brain disease or injury that is displayed in a range of symptoms, including memory loss, changes in personality and impaired judgment. One commonly referred to form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, accounts for 60 to 80 percent of diagnoses.

Many adults experience memory loss in their later years. However, not all memory loss is considered Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. A dementia diagnosis requires that certain symptoms be prevalent, such as diminished spatial reasoning and motor skills, communication, memory and focus.

Recognizing normal memory loss or what may be signs of dementia can be very difficult. Below are some common signs of normal memory loss vs. dementia symptoms:

Normal Memory Loss

There are various reasons for mental decline in seniors and aging adults. For example, blood flow to the brain can decrease, causing both impaired cognitive skills and memory. In addition, medical experts have proven that the brain’s hippocampus, where the memory center is, begins to deteriorate as we age, affecting our ability to create new and access old memories. Common signs of normal memory loss include:

  • Mixing up the names of your family or friends, like calling your son by your grandson’s name
  • Difficulty remembering something on the tip of your tongue
  • Forgetting why you walked into a certain room
  • Not remembering where you placed belongings, such as keys or your glasses
  • Becoming easily distracted
  • Missing get-togethers or appointments

However, continued stimulation of the brain, healthy diet and exercise have been known to slow the progress of normal mental impairment as you age.

Considering memory care? Download our free interactive workbook.

Dementia

A definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can be difficult in the early stages, due to the progressive nature of the condition. So it is important to seek consultation or treatment from a medical professional at the first signs of atypical memory or behavioral changes. These changes may include:

  • Declining activities you’ve previously enjoyed, perhaps because of forgetting the rules to a game or steps to a hobby
  • Decreased social interaction, due to forgetting familiar faces or names of acquaintances and family
  • Difficulty remembering the details of recent events, such as mixing up dates and locations
  • Becoming disoriented or lost in familiar places
  • Mistaking the names of everyday items or having difficulty with communication
  • Difficulty with everyday tasks, such as dressing, grooming or medication management

No one test can diagnose the presence of dementia. Medical professionals determine a diagnosis based on physical exams, medical history, laboratory tests and distinct changes that affect functioning and reasoning. But early diagnosis can provide an opportunity to seek treatments, including partaking in clinical trials or studies if appropriate. Evaluation by your doctor may also determine that a treatable medical condition is the cause of the dementia symptoms.

Memory Care at Tessera of Brandon

At Tessera of Westchase, we’re creating a community that encourages meaningful engagement while never forgetting your personal story. It starts with our holistic approach to wellness and continues through our gracious amenities and secure and comfortable suites. And with the support of our thoughtful and highly-trained professionals, life here is fulfilling and inspiring. Contact us today to learn more about this new community opening in early 2019.

Our resource Guide brings all the pieces together.

It’s easier to make a decision about Tessera of Westchase when you see how beautifully we’ve put it all together to create this vibrant and welcoming senior living community in Westchase, FL.

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11330 Countryway Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33626

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