Is that already dementia or still “normal” forgetfulness?
It is difficult, especially at the beginning, to differentiate between “normal forgetfulness” and dementia: everyone forgets something at some point. Being able to remember something also depends on the current emotional and intellectual stress, the ability to concentrate and attention. Of course, age also plays a role, as each of us becomes less and less agile and flexible physically and mentally as we get older.
Not every forgetfulness is therefore to be equate with the onset of dementia. And as long as there are no other mental limitations, there is no need to worry.
In contrast to “normal” forgetfulness, people who are actually suffering from dementia show some typical characteristics. Above all, as the disease progresses, more and more and increasingly pronounced symptoms appear.
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Alzheimer’s or “normal” forgetfulness in old age?
From the following examples you can see how advanced memory impairment in Alzheimer’s dementia differs from “normal” forgetfulness.
Everyone forgets something and then remembers it again. People with (Alzheimer’s) dementia often forget, don’t remember and keep asking the same questions, although they have already received the answer (several times).
- moving objects
If someone misplaces an object, such as their key, the healthy brain is able to find it by thinking back step by step. People with Alzheimer’s/Dementia don’t remember the last time they held their keys in their hands. Or they knit their own story about how they could have lost the keys. An affected person can also “tidy up” things in completely inappropriate places, e.g. B. an iron in the freezer or a watch in the sugar bowl – and will not find them again.
- Problems in assessing situations
Even a sane adult can momentarily forget to look after a child in their care. A person with Alzheimer’s may forget the child entirely and leave home. Or he puts on several shirts and sweaters on a warm day and can no longer handle money.
- Problems with abstract thinking
Everyone forgets a phone number, but they can look it up. An advanced sufferer no longer knows what these numbers mean and what to do with them. The ability to develop possible solutions and strategies is increasingly lost.
- Difficulties in everyday activities
Even people with dementia can, for example, cook a meal in the early stages, but then may forget to serve it or that they have cooked it at all.
- stories and events
While many people forget portions of stories or unimportant facts about an event, people with Alzheimer’s dementia don’t remember the stories or the events themselves.
- short-term memory
As a rule, the brain is more likely to forget events that happened a long time ago than events that happened recently. In contrast, people with Alzheimer’s tend to forget what happened a few minutes earlier.
Normal forgetful people use reminders and reminders better than people with Alzheimer’s.
Normal forgetfuls never lose the ability to orient themselves. Even in an unfamiliar environment, they find clues to find their way around. People with Alzheimer’s lose the ability to search and use cues to help them find their way. Time orientation is also increasingly lost.
It can happen that “normal” forgetful people tell distant friends the same story over and over again. People with Alzheimer’s dementia may tell the same story to the same person multiple times within an hour.
- Lack of drive and initiative
Sufferers often lose their energy, become inactive, and are reluctant to participate in social or other activities. For example, you can sit listlessly in front of the television for hours. However, this is often due to self-doubt, fear of failure, etc.
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