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The 10 key differences between natural ageing and dementia: Part 2

The 10 key differences between natural ageing and dementia: Part 2

Published By , 4 years ago

Welcome back to our blog series on the 10 differences between dementia and the natural ageing process! In case you didn’t tune in part 1, we decided to spend a couple of weeks talking about this issue, due to the common misconceptions that some people have about it. It’s really important to be able to tell the difference between the two, especially if you’re new to Aged Care, as the quality of the care provided to clients can be affected in a negative way, without knowing the traits of each.

So without further ado, here are the final 5 key differences between dementia and the natural ageing process!

Stored knowledge is still present in natural ageing

Stored knowledge or information are those that stay with you for much of your life. These can be historical events, life experiences or even things that you’ve learned. Whichever it may be, those with dementia will find it almost impossible to retain a lot of that information as their condition becomes worse. Examples may be that they aren’t conscious of what year it is, or who the current Prime Minister is.

Those who are naturally ageing will, for the most part, still have this information stored away. It may take them a while to recall some things, but you’ll find they generally remain unaffected in this area.

Dementia sufferers can experiences changes in mood and personality

A key sign of someone suffering from dementia is their frequent changes in mood. One minute you’ll find they are being friendly and forthcoming, and the next they’ll become aggressive and uncooperative. There could be many reasons for this; they may be frustrated at not being able to communicate what they want, they could be confused about the situation or it could simply be that they are feeling uncomfortable.

Whatever it is, it’s important to understand what they are going through and be patient throughout. They aren’t doing it on purpose – it’s just an unfortunate, and inevitable part of dementia.

Ability to perform everyday skills are generally unaffected in natural ageing

We often take our ability to independently perform small daily tasks like cooking, changing and showering for granted, but these are the very skills that those with dementia will struggle with greatly. Over time they slowly lose their capacity to do all of these things as their dementia grows more severe.

Unless they’re physically impaired, people who are simply going through the natural ageing process will be able to perform these tasks without much trouble – it might take them a bit longer though, due to their physical limitations. So take this all into account when providing your care. Emphasise independence to those who can do it themselves – they will appreciate it.

Dementia sufferers sometimes aren’t aware of their forgetfulness

A very common symptom of dementia and the natural ageing process is forgetfulness, however there is a difference between how they manifest. Those with dementia will tend to not only forget things, but will also become confused about why they needed to remember something. For example, if they’ve lost their glasses, they may not even realise that they had lost them or what the glasses are used for, when asked about it.

For the natural ageing process, it’s a similar situation to how their access to stored knowledge works. They have the ability to recall things that they’ve forgotten and what they’re used for – it just might take them a bit longer to remember.

Language and communication can be affected by dementia

For someone with dementia, one of the most frustrating things they will experience is how the disease affects their communication. A lot of the time they will know what they want to say, but will be unable to say it. For example they might have difficulty finding the right word to describe something, or when they do speak, the words that come out don’t make sense.

This is a common symptom within people who have dementia, so it’s important to take note of it. Try to keep in mind that this generally doesn’t affect those who are simply ageing naturally – their ability to communicate may be slower, but they can usually find the right words to express themselves.

So here ends our blog series on the 10 key differences between dementia and the natural ageing process. We hope you’ve enjoyed it and even picked up a few tips along the way!

We’ll see you next week with another blog, and as always, if you’ve got anything to add, leave it in the comments below – we’d love to hear from you.

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