We’re all forgetful from time to time. But as we age, the hormones and proteins responsible for generating new brain cells, as well as blood flow to the brain decreases, slowing our ability to recall information. It’s no wonder then that the majority of seniors age 65 and older will experience what is often referred to as age-related memory loss.

While age-related memory loss isn’t generally a cause for concern, it can make it easier for seniors and their loved ones to ignore the signs of a potentially more serious issue. According the World Health Organization, dementia is estimated to impact nearly 47 million people worldwide. This number is anticipated to increase to 75 million by 2030 and almost triple by 2050.

Fast Facts About Dementia You Should Know

Lack of awareness and the need for more research make it difficult for many to fully understand just what dementia is. Here are five key facts seniors and their loved one’s should know.

  1. Dementia is an umbrella term, not a diagnosis. One of the most confusing things about dementia is that the term dementia is not, in and of itself, a disease, but an umbrella term used to describe symptoms of numerous diseases and conditions[AS1] . What these diseases have in common is their potential to impact memory loss, cognitive decline and changes in behavior. Some forms of dementia can be reversed with early diagnosis and proper treatment, while others are more progressive in nature, with symptoms worsening over time.
  2. Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, an estimated 5.7 million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, making it the most common form of dementia. While the direct cause of Alzheimer’s is still unknown, common signs[AS2]  include memory loss that impacts daily activities, confusion about place and time, problems with speaking or writing, changes in mood or personality. These symptoms worsen as the disease progresses.
  3. Dementia doesn’t just impact seniors. While seniors are more affected by dementia, younger people are also at risk for developing certain forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, it’s estimated that nearly 200,000 people under 65 will develop early-onset Alzheimer’s. Other forms of dementia, such as vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia and lewy body dementia can also impact those under 65.
  4. New cases of dementia are diagnosed every 3 seconds. Even with such prevalent rates of diagnosis, little is known about how to best recognize the signs and symptoms of many forms of dementia early on, when interventions and treatments can have the greatest impact. Additionally, more research needs to be done to understand how these various diseases progress, as well as whether or not these conditions can be reversed.
  5. Healthy habits can help reduce your risk for developing some forms of dementia. Several studies show that healthy habits such as exercising regularly, continuously engaging in mentally stimulating activities such as puzzles or reading, as well as the incorporation of certain healthy foods into your diet such as dark berries and leafy greens, may help reduce your risk for developing certain forms of dementia.

Support for Dementia at Western Home Communities

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia can be difficult for both seniors and their families. At Western Home Communities, our Thalman Square community combines emotional connections, therapeutic recreation and active engagement in daily life in a neighborhood-like setting. Our mission is to provide the support and care seniors with dementia need to create new experiences and lead a fulfilled life.

If your loved one has been diagnosed with a form of dementia, contact Western Home Communities today to learn more about our memory support services.