In the News: Deciphering Dementia

Written by Lisa Jillanza

One of the dreaded words that many elderly people fear hearing is dementia. And unfortunately, it is increasingly more common as the years go by. Although dementia is a progressive disease, there are currently no cures for dementia.

As with many diseases, early detection is key to giving doctors the chance to slow the progression and extend the quality of life.

According to experts, “Dementia is the term for many disorders that cause changes to memory, thinking, and personality. These interfere with a person’s ability to function. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia; at least 5 million Americans are affected. About 50 million people are living with dementia worldwide. That number is expected to triple by 2050, as the population ages and people live longer.”

But how do you know if you or a loved one are suffering from dementia? Memory problems are the first sign of dementia. And the most common memory problem… someone with dementia may forget where they left certain objects.

Sure, all of us lose objects from time to time, but for people suffering from dementia, they lose the ability to retrace their steps to find the item that they misplaced.

Other signs of dementia include language difficulties, such as trouble finding the right words or communicating generally; visual/spatial problems, such as getting lost while driving; trouble solving problems and completing mental tasks; difficulty organizing and planning; problems with coordination or walking; general confusion, including poor orientation to time or place.