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Don't confuse dementia with ordinary aging

(ran SP CI editions)

If you or someone you love think you might be in the beginning stages of dementia, here are some things to consider. They should help you determine if forgetfulness and other changes may be signs of Alzheimer's:

Memory loss. It's normal to forget names or telephone numbers. Those with Alzheimer's disease forget more often and don't remember later.

Trouble with familiar tasks. It's normal to forget to serve the vegetable. It's not normal to prepare a meal, forget to serve it and forget you made it.

Language problems. It's normal to have problems finding the right word occasionally. It's not normal to forget simple words or to substitute inappropriate words.

Confusing time and place. It's normal to forget where you're going. It's not normal to get lost on your own street and not know how to get home.

Decreased judgment. It's normal to become so engrossed in an activity that you forget what is going on around you. It's not normal to dress without regard to the weather.

Problems with abstract thinking. It's normal sometimes to have problems balancing a checkbook. It's not normal to forget what numbers are or what to do with them.

Misplacing things. Everyone occasionally loses the keys. People with Alzheimer's may look for their glasses in the aquarium _ and think that's normal.

Mood changes. Everyone gets moody now and then. Those with Alzheimer's may show rapid mood swings for no apparent reason.

Personality changes. It's normal to change somewhat as we age. Those with Alzheimer's change drastically, becoming confused, suspicious or fearful.

Loss of initiative. It's normal to tire of housework. It's not normal to become passive and forget to go to the bathroom or to swallow after chewing.

_ Source: Alzheimer's Association

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