Dementia is currently an epidemic in America. Currently, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, and the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. Every 66 seconds, another person in America is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and 1 in 3 seniors die with Alzheimer’s or some other dementia.
It makes sense that we as Americans might become hyper-vigilant with our loved one when it comes to self-diagnosing dementia / Alzheimer’s. Nothing can take the place of a professional medical diagnosis, but knowing some other causes for memory loss could help in a variety of ways, namely if there’s a chance the problem isn’t dementia, maybe a loved one would be more willing to get to a doctor for an accurate diagnosis.
For example, depression manifests itself in ways similar to dementia. With depression, mental decline is rapid, and could improve one day over the next. With dementia, mental decline is slow and more difficult to notice. A person facing depression will likely know the date and time and their current location, while a person with dementia becomes confused or disoriented, even to the point of being lost in familiar surroundings. Difficulty concentrating due to depression could be mistaken for difficulty with short-term memory, and a person experiencing depression might, in fact, mention concerns about their memory, whereas a person with dementia generally will not notice memory problems.
Mood changes, loss of interest in social activity, withdrawal, and lack of focus, all associated with depression, could cause a false alarm for a dementia self-diagnosis. There are other causes for these same symptoms that are not dementia and having the conversation with a loved one could encourage them to get help sooner and potentially get an accurate diagnosis for a healthier future.
“Is it Depression or Dementia” diagram: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwj33fv_gdzUAhVFZCYKHdz1DQsQjRwIBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fagewiseassisted.com%2Frecognizing-the-difference-between-depression-and-dementia-twin-cities-mn%2F&psig=AFQjCNHazZkHyrt7LKNH9qDQ23VmQnx95g&ust=1498583845208838
7 Tips to Help with Cognitive Impairment During Depression: https://www.psychiatry.org/news-room/apa-blogs/apa-blog/2016/01/7-tips-to-help-with-cognitive-impairment-during-depression
Will Parrish, a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ CDFA™ is a founding partner of Slate, Disharoon, Parrish and Associates, LLC, and is located in Knoxville, Tennessee specializing in services for medical professionals, business owners, and corporate executives, and divorce financial planning. Feel free to contact Will with questions via email firstname.lastname@example.org or directly by phone at (865) 357-7373. Visit their website, www.sdp-planning.com.
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