Tuesday, 28 February 2023 09:23

Aging vs Dementia: Insights from a Memory Care Facility in Illinois

People often start to forget things more often as they get older. Most often this is a normal sign of aging. But for someone with dementia, the changes that affect memory will be different, more serious, and affect their life more. Our memory care facility in Illinois provides specialized care for those with dementia and other memory-related conditions. As such, we are here to provide some helpful insights on dementia and what to look out for.

Facilities like ours are designed to help aging individuals maintain their independence while providing a safe and secure environment to enjoy their daily lives. To achieve this, memory care facilities offer a variety of services including 24-hour supervision, medication management, assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), social activities, and more.

If you’re concerned about an aging loved one and whether you need to start planning for their transition to a memory care community, here’s what you need to know.

Do the Symptoms Indicate Normal Aging or Dementia?

As people age, they tend to forget more things more often than they used to. This is usually a common part of the aging process. For someone living with dementia, the changes in their cognitive behaviors and abilities will be profound and those changes will have a significant impact on their daily life.

As we age, we are likely to experience changes in our cognitive abilities. For instance, your aging loved may be experiencing like:

  • Forgetfulness
  • Delayed recognition
  • Being distracted easily
  • Having difficulty multitasking

This is likely to become more evident when you reach middle age — typically, in your 40s through early 60s.

Even though growing older brings about these changes, they are a normal part of the aging process and there are steps that seniors can take to keep their minds sharp (keep reading for more on this). These symptoms may raise concerns about the possibility of dementia, but for most people, this is not the case.

What Differentiates Dementia?

Dementia is not a specific disease but is rather a colloquial term that encompasses a collection of symptoms related to impaired cognitive abilities. This is caused by various illnesses that affect the brain such as Alzheimer’s Disease and symptoms of dementia can get worse over time. Common dementia symptoms include:

  • Memory loss
  • Consistent confusion
  • Needing help with everyday activities
  • Issues with language and understanding
  • Changes in typical behavior
  • Wandering
  • And more

When someone has dementia, the decline in mental faculties is more severe than the changes that people experience as they age.

Initially, the changes may be minor but will become more evident over time. In order for a health professional to properly diagnose dementia, their patient must be experiencing severe symptoms that affect their daily life.

Preventing Memory Loss: Thoughts from a Memory Care Facility in Illinois

As we age, memory loss is inevitable; however, there are steps we can take to prevent it from occurring too soon or becoming too severe. While some of these steps may seem basic, they are necessary to keep our minds strong and operating at the highest level. So, make sure you encourage your parents and aging loved ones to follow these suggestions.

1. Get Enough Sleep

Most individuals require roughly eight hours of sleep per night. Adequate sleep allows our brains to store memories and get rid of irrelevant information. Additionally, our brains produce growth hormones while we sleep that are beneficial for neuron health. Neuronal degeneration can begin in our 20s, so it's important to make sure we're getting enough sleep.

2. Stay Social

Interacting with others is essential for brain health. Engaging in conversations with friends and family keeps our minds stimulated and challenged. Not only that but engaging in social activity also triggers the release of serotonin and oxytocin, hormones known to promote good feelings, mental balance, and positive thinking.

3. Exercise Regularly

Staying fit with regular exercise keeps our bodies and minds healthy. Exercising stimulates our brains to secrete dopamine, a chemical linked to pleasure and motivation. Exercising can also make us feel good physically and mentally, as it has the potential to reduce stress and anxiety. If your parents are staying active with daily walks or other forms of exercise, it will be good for their long-term mental health and memory recall.

4. Eat a Healthy Diet

The things we consume directly affect our brains. Eating healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains provides our brains with the essential nutrients for proper functioning. Moreover, cutting down on processed meats and sugary beverages can help diminish the likelihood of illnesses such as Alzheimer's (Cognitive Vitality).

Turmeric, blueberries, and green tea are just a few foods and drinks that may help protect against memory loss. Furthermore, Omega-3s are essential for brain function and are found in certain foods like salmon, walnuts, and chia seeds.

5. Challenge Yourself Mentally

By doing activities that challenge us cognitively, we can stimulate our brains and keep them healthy and functioning well. Keeping our minds sharp can be accomplished through activities like learning a new language, playing chess, or solving crossword puzzles. By keeping the brain active, we are able to maintain its optimal performance.

6. See Your Doctor Regularly

It is important to visit a doctor regularly in order to promote both physical and mental well-being. Mental ailments such as depression and anxiety can have an adverse effect on memory and thinking skills. Regular visits to your doctor are important for maintaining good mental health and cognitive sharpness.

Is It Time to Start Looking for a Memory Care Facility in Illinois?

If your loved one has been affected by dementia already and you can’t keep up with their care needs, it might be time to start exploring memory care communities. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place. We are proud to have two memory care communities in the state of Illinois, one in Troy and the other in Sullivan. These quiet towns are ideal locations for our memory care homes and we’ve expertly designed these locations to make them feel exactly like home. When you visit our memory care facility in Illinois, our caregivers can help you make an educated decision on the right place for your aging loved one.

Contact the Aspen Creek of Troy or the Aspen Creek of Sullivan today to learn more about our memory care facilities in Illinois.