Normal Aging vs Alzheimer’s: How to Tell the Difference
Some common changes associated with normal aging include:
- Slower inductive reasoning / slower problem-solving.
- Diminished spatial orientation.
- Declines in perceptual speed.
- Decreased numerical ability.
- Losses in verbal memory.
- Few changes in verbal ability
While these changes can be concerning, they do not necessarily mean that someone has Alzheimer’s. In fact, many older adults experience one or more of these changes without developing dementia. So how can you tell the difference between normal aging and Alzheimer’s?
There are a few key things to look for that may indicate a more serious problem.
- Taking longer to complete familiar tasks.
- Difficulty keeping track of bills or medications.
- Trouble driving to a familiar place or remembering the route.
- New problems with words when speaking or writing, such as forgetting someone’s name or substituting words that don’t make sense.
- Poor judgment or decision-making, such as giving large amounts of money to telemarketers.
If you notice any of these changes in yourself or someone you know, it’s important to see a doctor. While there is no one test that can definitively diagnose Alzheimer’s, a doctor can perform an assessment to rule out other possible causes of the changes and determine if further testing is needed. Early diagnosis is important because it allows people with Alzheimer’s to begin treatment and make plans for the future.