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Dementia with aging: What’s normal, what’s not

Older adults often worry about their thinking abilities. They may occasionally miss a bill payment or forget an appointment or a familiar person’s name.

Published: 25th August 2021 09:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th August 2021 09:20 AM   |  A+A-

senior citizen, dementia

For representational purposes

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD :  Older adults often worry about their thinking abilities. They may occasionally miss a bill payment or forget an appointment or a familiar person’s name. Mild forgetfulness is a normal part of aging and does not indicate brain dysfunction. 

This benign forgetfulness of aging does not affect daily activities such as cooking, driving, finding way home or using the phone. However, in a minority of elderly population, forgetfulness may be severe enough to impair activities of daily living. At this stage, a possibility of dementia needs to be considered and a neurologist’s opinion has to be sought. 

Confusion about the time or place, getting lost in familiar places, asking the same questions repeatedly, having trouble following a recipe or directions and poor self-care are some of the features that can suggest a possibility of dementia. These symptoms can gradually progress, which makes the person completely dependent on a caregiver to do even simple activities such as bathing, eating or changing clothes.

There are several measures that can maintain the brain health in the elderly and prevent development of significant memory impairment or dementia. Good diet, regular physical activity, staying mentally active and maintaining emotional connections are found to be important for good brain health. 

A diet rich in antioxidants can improve brain health. Limiting alcohol consumption, avoiding high-energy foods and cessation of smoking are key. The risk of dementia is reduced in those who exercise regularly. 

— Dr. Sandeep Nayani, Consultant Neuro Physician, Apollo Hospitals, Jubilee Hills


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