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Normal Ageing vs Signs of Dementia

Home Instead West Lothian contribute the monthly Living Well column in Konect. This month, they help us with the difference between normal signs of ageing, and signs of dementia.

As people get older, they are likely to become more forgetful and notice changes in their mental abilities. Though frustrating, these changes are a normal part of ageing. So how does this differ from dementia?

With dementia, this worsening in mental abilities is much more serious. For a healthcare professional to diagnose dementia, symptoms must be significantly affecting daily life, such as difficulty completing daily tasks about the house, in the community or at work.

Normal signs of ageing:

  • Forgetting people’s names

  • Struggling to remember day-to-day events or experiences

  • Misplacing items (e.g. keys or glasses) around the house

  • Finding it hard to follow conversations

  • Forgetting appointments or important dates

  • Getting lost

While someone might worry that these are the early signs of dementia, for most this is not the case.

Symptoms of dementia:

  • Memory loss

  • Confusion and needing help with daily tasks

  • Struggling with planning and decision making

  • Problems with language and understanding

  • Changes in behaviour

The most common types of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, but there are also less common types such as Lewy body and frontotemporal dementia. While they may share some similar symptoms, this is not always the case.

It is therefore important not to try to diagnose dementia in yourself or someone else and instead seek the opinion of a qualified health professional.

For information and support prior to a diagnosis or memory assessment, contact the Memory Information Support Team (MIST) on 01506 448 000


Published in Konect May 2024

Author: Home Instead West Lothian. Home Instead West Lothian contribute the monthly Living Well column in Konect magazines (West Lothian editions)


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