Why Focus on Dementia




Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning and behavioral abilities that interfere with daily life and activities. Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), the most common cause of dementia, affects more than 6 million Americans, most aged 65 or older.  The lifetime risk for Alzheimer’s is 1 in 5 for women, compared to 1 in 10 for men. One in three seniors dies with dementia. It kills more than breast and prostate cancer combined. These facts are both frightening and compelling. Dementia awareness is vital because we live at a time when extensive research is expanding our understanding of and ability to manage it. Also, new medications are being developed to manage some of the more troubling symptoms. Knowledge can be powerful and beneficial.

While Lest We Forget is written for those caring for loved ones with dementia, it is always appropriate to step back and learn more about dementia. It is tempting to be concerned with changes in our cognitive or functional abilities, especially if you are a caregiver. An article written in 2013 clearly outlines memory problems as either a sign of normal aging or dementia. A more recent update is available at alzheimer.ca in an article entitled “The differences between normal aging and dementia.”

These articles may reassure you because your cognitive changes of concern may be normal aging. However, it may be that something your read is a red flag for you. This benefits early diagnosis and sets the stage for better diagnosis management. A red flag is your cue to discuss changes that concern you with your healthcare provider. In the next blog, we will talk about other red flags needing attention.

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