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As we get older it is usual to get a little bit more forgetful.  Some people will get easily distracted as they age and may take longer to remember things.  It can be harder to multi-task once you get past middle age. Some may be concerned that these are the early signs of dementia but this is part of normal ageing, although it can be annoying at times.

What Is Dementia And What Are The Symptoms?

Dementia is the name for symptoms that occur when the brain is damaged by diseases.  This includes disease of the blood vessels which can cause a stroke, as well as Alzheimer’s disease.  Dementia can cause a decline in a person’s cognitive function such as memory, reasoning and thinking.

Dementia is diagnosed by a doctor and the diagnosis process will only start when the symptoms significantly affect a person’s daily life.  This can include problems with every day activities at home or at work.  Examples of this are driving safely, meeting with friends, making phone calls, paying bills etc.

If you are worried you have symptoms, but they are not bad enough to affect your daily life, your doctor might diagnose you with mild cognitive impairment.  This is not dementia but some people do develop dementia later on.

A person with depression can also have some of the symptoms of dementia.  They can get confused easily and appear irritable and withdrawn.  There are many other conditions that have similar symptoms to dementia.

The Alzheimer’s Society has put together a really useful table comparing the signs that could be due to normal ageing to those that might be related to dementia.  If you are worried you, or a relative, may have dementia have a look now https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-dementia/symptoms-and-diagnosis/how-dementia-progresses/normal-ageing-vs-dementia

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