From age 50 on, it’s not unusual to have occasional trouble finding the right word or remembering where you put things.
But persistent difficulty with memory, cognition and ability to perform everyday tasks might be signs of something more serious.
What is dementia?
Dementia isn’t actually a disease, according to the Mayo Clinic. It’s a catch-all term for changes in the brain that cause a loss of functioning that interferes with daily life. It can diminish focus, the ability to pay attention, language skills, problem-solving and visual perception. Dementia can also make it difficult for a person to control his or her emotions and can even lead to personality changes.
Roughly 6.5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia, though many experts say that number is probably higher. And its prevalence is projected to reach nearly 13 million by 2050, according to a 2022 report from the Alzheimer’s Association. Globally, over 55 million people have dementia, the World Health Organization estimates.
If someone is showing signs of dementia, it’s important to see a medical expert who can conduct tests and come up with a diagnosis. Several, often treatable, conditions — from infections to a vitamin deficiency — can cause dementia-like symptoms, so it’s necessary to rule them out first.
If it is dementia, you’ll want to plan how you will manage care, especially as the condition progresses. To learn about the 10 warning signs of dementia, from AARP, CLICK HERE.