Alzheimer's Awareness Month
Alzheimer's disease, or related dementia, affects an estimated 500,000 Canadians, and statistics predict that this number will double within a generation. Fortunately, for every person living with Alzheimer's disease, there are also many family members and friends providing care and support.
Alzheimer's disease will eventually affect how a person thinks, feels, acts, and reacts to the environment. Symptoms will gradually increase and become more persistent. Although there is no known cure, growing research indicates that eating well and staying physically and mentally active can help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
Normal aging vs dementia
Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are not a part of normal aging.
Almost 40 per cent of people over the age of 65 experience some form of memory loss. When there is no underlying medical condition causing this memory loss, it is known as "age-associated memory impairment," which is considered a part of the normal aging process.
Brain diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are different.
Age-associated memory impairment and dementia can be told apart in a number of ways. Below are some examples.
Note: this is not a diagnostic tool.
Not being able to remember details of a conversation or event that took place a year ago Not being able to recall details of recent events or conversations
Not being able to remember the name of an acquaintance Not recognizing or knowing the names of family members
Forgetting things and events occasionally Forgetting things or events more frequently
Occasionally have difficulty finding words Frequent pauses and substitutions when finding words
You are worried about your memory but your relatives are notYour relatives are worried about your memory, but you are not aware of any problems
If you are worried about your memory, talk to your family doctor.
Tips for coping with normal age-related memory difficulties:
Keep a routine
Organize information (keep details in a calendar or day planner)
Put items in the same spot (always put your keys in the same place by the door)
Repeat information (repeat names when you meet people)
Run through the alphabet in your head to help you remember a word
Make associations (relate new information to things you already know)
Involve your senses (if you are a visual learner, visualize an item)
Teach others or tell them stories
Get a full night's sleep
Learn more about what you can do to maintain your brain healthand strengthen your memory
It’s important to know when to see your doctor about memory concerns but it’s equally important to know that forgetting someone's name doesn’t necessarily mean that you are getting dementia!