Mental & Emotional Health
What’s the Difference Between Dementia and Normal Aging?
Having experienced my Grandpa living with dementia, this topic is sensitive to me.
A diagnosis of dementia can have a huge impact on a person's life. Someone recently diagnosed with dementia is likely to experience a range of emotions. These may include grief, loss, anger, shock, fear, disbelief, and even relief. Some people who have dementia have a high level of movement between emotions.
The confirmation of a diagnosis may trigger depression and anxiety in some people. There are several talking therapies and - if needed - drug treatments available for depression and anxiety. Lifestyle changes can help too. One sign of dementia is forgetting memories and having a difficult time speaking or doing simple tasks.
People with dementia often experience changes in their emotional responses. They may have less control over their feelings and how they express them. For example, someone may be irritable, prone to rapid mood changes, or overreacting to things. They may also appear unusually uninterested in things or distant.
Other people who have dementia may also lose their self-confidence and feel insecure. One way of showing support to a person with dementia is by offering them plenty of praise and encouragement. If a person makes mistakes, you should never criticize and belittle them if the error was direct because of dementia.
Instead, try to be supportive and correct the mistake positively to ensure that the person who has dementia is not patronized. Before claiming that a person has dementia, make sure that you have the person checked by a medical professional. There are instances where forgetting things is only part of aging.
Here is a great infographic on What’s the Difference Between Dementia and Normal Aging? from Euro-American Connections and Homecare.