Normal Signs of Aging or Alzheimer’s Disease?
As you spend time with your loved one, do you notice that they are not as “sharp” as they use to be? Mild memory loss may occur as we get older. Changes such as not being able to recall a name or details of a recent event are a frustrating but frequent occurrence for most aging adults. While it has been suggested by some that everyone might develop dementia if he or she lives long enough, it should be emphasized that Alzheimer’s is a disease and not simply an exaggeration of normal aging.
Alzheimer’s disease - the most common form of dementia among older people - is defined as a brain disorder that over time may seriously affect a person’s cognitive functioning and consequently their ability to carry out daily activities. Typically these changes happen slowly. Dementia is a sustained decline in cognitive function, including memory loss, and in at least one other area of deficit in great enough degree to interfere with social or occupational activities.
Besides Alzheimer’s disease, there are many other causes of dementia. These include vascular dementia, Lewy Body dementia, and many others. It is important to determine the cause of the dementia in order to best understand it and treat it.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, an estimated 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease. Of Americans aged 65 and older, 1 in 9 has Alzheimer's; 1 in 3 people aged 85 and older has the disease. In 2013, 15.5 million family and friends provided 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care to those with Alzheimer's and other dementias.
If you are worried about a loved one, please join us for a special presentation with Steffani Baker, M.Ed., from the Alzheimer’s Association. "Know the 10 Signs: Early Detection Matters" will be presented on Tuesday, March 24, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Fairview Hospital Wellness Center, 3035 Wooster Rd, Rocky River. Reservations are required. Please call 440-356-0670, option 5, or visit fairviewhospital.org/wellnesscenter and navigate to the online calendar.
Anne Kuenzel is the manager of Community Education at Fairview Hospital Wellness Center. The Center offers many educational classes and group exercise classes. For more information, visit fairviewhospital.org/wellnesscenter or call 440.356.0670, option 5.