Memory And Aging: Whats Normal
Because of the ways the brain changes as you age, slightly reduced memory and aging go hand-in-hand for most adults. As they age, older adults may:
- Find words and recall names more slowly.
- Have more problems with multitasking.
- Notice slightly lower ability to pay attention.
- Learn new skills more slowly.
Alzheimers Tests Myths: Can You Find The Camel
This is a memory test where you are shown pictures of animals and youll be asked to name them. Theres a version of the test that shows you a picture of a camel, a rhinoceros, an elephant, among other images.
A camel may look like a horse with a hump. So if someone answers horse that would indicate a potential problem. Its supposed to be a very easy test for someone who is not demented. But for those who are demented, the information of the images may be difficult to take in and recall the correct animals name.
The pictures of animals test is only 1/20th of the full Alzheimers dementia test. So, it wont tell you much.
Now, if you are referring to the find the camel in the picture puzzle claiming to reduce the risk of dementia, that is absolutely false.
What Is Dementia Is Dementia A Part Of Normal Aging
Dementia is a general term for very severe cognitive impairment, which goes beyond the mild cognitive decline expected from normal aging. People who have dementia have problems with memory, language, thinking, and problem solving that worsen over time. These issues are significant enough that they affect daily living, behaviors, and emotion. Seniors with dementia may require extra care, like in-home care or memory care, as the disease progresses. Alzheimers disease is the most common type of elderly dementia.
What Is Dementia Symptoms Types And Diagnosis
Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning thinking, remembering, and reasoning to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities. Some people with dementia cannot control their emotions, and their personalities may change. Dementia ranges in severity from the mildest stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person’s functioning, to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for basic activities of living.
Dementia is more common as people grow older but it is not a normal part of aging. Many people live into their 90s and beyond without any signs of dementia.
There are several different forms of dementia, including Alzheimers disease. A persons symptoms can vary depending on the type.
How Accurate Is It
This quiz is NOT a diagnostic tool. Mental health disorders can only be diagnosed by licensed healthcare professionals.
Psycom believes assessments can be a valuable first step toward getting treatment. All too often people stop short of seeking help out of fear their concerns arent legitimate or severe enough to warrant professional intervention.
If you think you or someone you care about may be suffering from dementia or any other mental health condition, PsyCom.net strongly recommends that you seek help from a mental health professional in order to receive a proper diagnosis and support. For those in crisis, we have compiled a list of resources where you may be able to find additional help at: https://www.psycom.net/get-help-mental-health.
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If The Diagnosis Is Dementia
Dementia is one of the health conditions that people are most afraid of.
A study by the Alzheimer’s Society has shown that more than half of people wait for up to a year before getting help for dementia symptoms, because they feel afraid. But an accurate and early diagnosis can have many benefits.
After you’ve had the necessary tests , your doctor should ask if you want to know your diagnosis.
They should explain what having dementia might mean for you and give you time to talk about the condition and ask questions.
Unless you decide otherwise, your doctor, or a member of their team, should talk to you and your family or carer about:
- the type of dementia you have or, if it’s not clear, they should talk to you about being assessed again in the future
- the symptoms and how the condition might develop
- the treatments you might be offered
- the name of a health or social care professional who will co-ordinate the different types of support you need
- care and support services in your area, including support groups and voluntary organisations for people with dementia, their families and carers
- advocacy services
- how dementia will affect your driving or employment, if this applies to you
- where you can get financial and legal advice
You should also be given written information about dementia.
Could You Begin With Self
Yes, you may start with a self-assessment test. Many people who have memory loss concerns might want to start there.
Even though this is very hard for all humans to do, its best to listen to your friends and family members who might be recognizing things about your memory that you dont.
If they are expressing concerns about your memory. thats probably a good indication to get it professionally checked by a geriatrician, neurologist or a mental health professional.
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What Type Of Doctor Do I See For Memory Loss
The type of doctor you see for memory loss is usually your general practitioner. Your doctor will ask some questions to evaluate if there is or is not a problem. Its helpful for a lot of people to have a friend or family member along to offer insight as an observer.
Examples of questions that may be asked include:
- When did you start noticing memory loss problems?
- Have you recently been ill?
- Have you recently started any new medications?
- Has there been any major life changes recently?
- How often and how much of over the counter, dietary supplements, and prescription medications do you use?
- Do you drink, If so how much and how often?
- Do you find any task problematic?
- Do you struggle with anxiety, depression, or feel sad?
- Have you recently injured your head in an accident?
In addition to questions the doctor will likely order tests of your blood and possibly tests that show the condition of your brain. These can either show or rule out issues that may contribute to memory loss. In some cases, patients are referred to specialists such as psychiatrists, psychologists, neurologists, or geriatricians.
What Type Of Doctor Should A Dementia Patient See
One of the most common questions that we get is what type of doctor should a dementia patient see?
Thus, we decided to help EVEN MORE users by answering the question with this in-depth doctor overview article.
The FIRST professional a person sees is a general physician or their family doctor.
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What Kind Of Doctor Tests For Dementia
A primary care doctor can perform a physical exam and find out more about your symptoms to determine what may be the cause. They will likely refer you to one or several specialists that can perform specific tests to diagnose dementia. Specialists may include neurologists, who specialize in the brain and nervous system psychiatrists or psychologists, who specialize in mental health, mental functions, and memory or geriatricians, who specialize in healthcare for older adults.
What Are The Symptoms
Usually the first symptom is memory loss. Often the person who has a memory problem doesn’t notice it, but family and friends do. As dementia gets worse:
- You may have more trouble doing things that take planning, like making a list and going shopping.
- You may have trouble using or understanding words.
- You may get lost in places you know well.
Over time, people with dementia may begin to act very differently. They may become scared and strike out at others, or they may become clingy and childlike. They may stop brushing their teeth or bathing.
Later, they cannot take care of themselves. They may not know where they are. They may not know their loved ones when they see them.
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What Is A Geriatric Doctor
A geriatric doctor is someone who specializes in caring for people 65 and older. Theyre also referred to as geriatricians.
Theyre doctors of internal or family medicine who have an extra 1 or 2 years of training in areas related to elder care.
Geriatricians can be primary care doctors, provide consultations, or work as part of an older adults medical team.
How Does A Doctor Test For Dementia
There is no single diagnostic test for Alzheimers disease and other causes of dementia. Dementias are diagnosed by evaluating and understanding a persons memory and thinking patterns. Doctors will consider a persons memory, grasp of language, mood states, problem-solving skills, ability to maintain focus and perform complex tasks. Evaluation may include in-office cognitive screening , physical examination, and review of labs. Labwork helps to determine whether there are vitamin deficiencies or hormonal changes at play. In some cases, evaluation may require neuropsychological testing, brain imaging , and genetic testing.
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What Doctors Need To Do To Diagnose Dementia
Now that we reviewed the five key features of dementia, lets talk about how I or another doctor might go about checking for these.
Basically, for each feature, the doctor needs to evaluate, and document what she finds.
1. Difficulty with mental functions. To evaluate this, its best to combine an office-based cognitive test with documentation of real-world problems, as reported by the patient and by knowledgeable observers
For cognitive testing, I generally use the Mini-Cog, or the MOCA. The MOCA provides more information but it takes more time, and many seniors are either unwilling or unable to go through the whole test.
Completing office-based tests is important because its a standardized way to document cognitive abilities. But the results dont tell the doctor much about whats going on in the persons actual life.
So I always ask patients to tell me if theyve noticed any trouble with memory or thinking. I also try to get information from family members about any of the eight behaviors that are common in Alzheimers. Lastly, I make note of whether there seem to be any problems managing activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living .
Driving and managing finances require a lot of mental coordination, so as dementia develops, these are often the life tasks that people struggle with first.
Checking for many of these causes of cognitive impairment requires laboratory testing, and sometimes additional evaluation.
At What Age Can You Test Someone For The Signs Of Dementia
There is no one particular age that someone must meet before they can be assessed for signs of dementia, although dementia is more common in people over 65. Early-onset dementia can begin in people who are in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. Diagnosing dementia in its early stages is important as early treatment can slow the progression of symptoms and help to maintain mental functions.
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How To Diagnose Alzheimers Vs Dementia
Alzheimers is a progressive and fatal brain disorder. Dementia is not a specific disease, but an umbrella term that defines a syndrome and used to refer to a specific group of symptoms related to a decline in mental ability. Alzheimers is one of the most common causes of dementia. Both Alzheimers and dementia are diagnosed using a variety of different assessments and tests, including a physical exam, lab tests, cognitive and neuropsychological tests, and an analysis of changes in behavior.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Dementia
Signs and symptoms of dementia result when once-healthy neurons, or nerve cells, in the brain stop working, lose connections with other brain cells, and die. While everyone loses some neurons as they age, people with dementia experience far greater loss.
The symptoms of dementia can vary and may include:
- Experiencing memory loss, poor judgment, and confusion
- Difficulty speaking, understanding and expressing thoughts, or reading and writing
- Wandering and getting lost in a familiar neighborhood
- Trouble handling money responsibly and paying bills
- Repeating questions
- Not caring about other peoples feelings
- Losing balance and problems with movement
People with intellectual and developmental disabilities can also develop dementia as they age, and recognizing their symptoms can be particularly difficult. Its important to consider a persons current abilities and to monitor for changes over time that could signal dementia.
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What Does A Geriatric Doctor Do And How Do Seniors Benefit
Pay more attention to quality of life and patient goalsGeriatric doctors focus on quality of life and what patients want from their medical care.
They spend more time at each appointment and collect more information than an internal medicine doctor would.
They ask about lifestyle, community, family, and get your older adults full medical history.
Geriatricians also focus on helping seniors and families:
In addition, knowing about differences between older bodies vs. middle-aged bodies helps geriatricians choose treatments that work better for seniors.
Understand issues that commonly affect seniorsMost primary care doctors dont spend enough time finding out about and solving issues that affect older adults.
Falls, incontinence, muscle weakness, frailty, fatigue, cognitive impairment, and delirium have a huge impact on quality of life.
Geriatricians are experts at these geriatric syndromes.
In a Kaiser Health News article, Dr. John Morley, professor of geriatrics at Saint Louis University, says:
If youre losing weight, youre falling, you cant climb a flight of stairs, youre tired all the time, youre unhappy and youre on 10 or more medications, go see a geriatricianMuch of what we do is get rid of treatments prescribed by other physicians that arent working
What Causes Dementia To Progress So Quickly
Dementia symptoms are typically mild at first and progress over time to moderate and then severe, over several years. The speed as which dementia progresses varies between individuals, but some factors can cause dementia to progress more quickly. These include the persons age, the type of dementia, and other long term health problems. Dementia tends to progress more slowly in people over 65 compared to younger people below 65.
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Benefits Of The Clock
The clock-drawing test has these advantages:
- Fast screening tool: It is a very quick way to screen a person for possible dementia. It often requires only a minute or two for completion.
- Easy to administer: It does not require much training to administer.
- Well-tolerated: This test is easier to complete than the MMSE for people with short attention spans.
- Free: Unlike some cognitive tests that require you to purchase a copy of the test and scoring tools, the clock-drawing test can be completed with only the cost of paper and a pen.
- May be useful in developing countries: Because of the low cost and minimal training, this test can be used in countries with fewer resources.
- Screening for delirium: This test has also been administered to patients in the hospital to assess for signs of delirium. Delirium is a sudden deterioration in someones cognitive ability. It can follow the use of anesthesia for surgery, for example, as well as be triggered by an infection or illness.
Should My Parent Or Spouse See A Geriatrician
If your older adults current doctor has plenty of experience with their health conditions and youre happy with the care they provide, theres no need to make a change.
Seniors could benefit from seeing a geriatrician if they have complex health issues like Alzheimers or dementia or feel that their current doctor isnt paying enough attention to their health issues, overprescribes medication, or doesnt take a holistic view when making treatment recommendations.
Geriatricians can dig deeper to find out if a problem is caused by non-age-related illness or injury rather than just assuming its due to age.
Because theyre more thorough and have more experience with older bodies, you can be more confident that their diagnosis is accurate.
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What Causes Dementia
The causes of Alzheimers and related dementias can vary, depending on the types of brain changes that may be taking place. While research has found that some changes in the brain are linked to certain forms of dementia, in most cases, the underlying causes are unknown. Rare genetic mutations may cause dementia in a relatively small number of people.
Although there is no proven prevention, in general, leading a healthy lifestyle may help reduce risk factors that have been associated with these diseases.
What Is The Long
The prognosis is different for each person and may be affected by your general health or the existence of unrelated illnesses. Because LBD progresses at varying rates for each individual, it is not possible to determine how long someone may live with the disease. A person may live as long as 20 years or as short as 2 years after onset of obvious LBD symptoms. Research suggests most people live five to eight years with LBD.
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How To Choose The Best Healthcare Team
Your primary care physician can help you assemble your healthcare team and refer you to specialists for further evaluation and treatment as needed.
There are many primary care doctors who are comfortable with treating dementia, says Graff-Radford, This is especially true if they see a lot of older patients who have been diagnosed with Alzheimers.