What’s the Difference?
As our loved one ages, one of the questions that may come up for your family is how to tell the difference between the cognitive changes associated with “normal aging” and those that could signal serious underlying health conditions.
At this time, there’s no definitive way to distinguish between benign memory slips, Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Consider this as a general rule of thumb: occasionally misplacing the car keys is normal, while forgetting what to do with them is not.
Here are a few indicators that your loved one’s cognitive troubles may be caused by something more serious than the simple advancing of age:
Signs That Cognitive Troubles May Be More Than ‘Old Age’
- Bad judgment (poor financial decisions, public outbursts)
- Movement issues (stiff movements, hunched posture)
- Loss of inhibition (saying or doing socially inappropriate things)
- Language problems (can’t form coherent sentences)
- Hallucinations and delusions (seeing things that aren’t really there)
- Trouble performing familiar tasks (can’t remember how to get to the doctor’s office)
- Memory loss that interrupts daily life (regularly forgets recent conversations)
Ultimately, it’s up to you and your family to determine if, and when, a loved one’s cognitive issues warrant investigation by a medical professional.