Normal aging is the term that is widely used to describe the natural changes that occur in the absence of any disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of the normal aging process. If it was, then every person over age 65 would have Alzheimer disease. In normal age-related memory loss, someone might forget part of an experience for example. Someone with Alzheimer’s will forget the entire experience and be unable to recall the experience at a later time.
While people do experience minor changes in their memory and thinking as they age, these changes don't affect daily functioning or the ability to live independently.
In normal age-related memory loss, a person can usually follow instructions (verbal or written) without difficulty, but a person with Alzheimer’s disease is less and less able to follow instructions over time.
In normal age-related memory loss, using notes and other reminders is helpful, but people with Alzheimer’s gradually become less able to benefit from memory aids.
In normal age-related memory loss, people can still manage their own personal care (bathing, dressing, grooming, etc.), but those with Alzheimer’s lose the ability to engage in these kinds of tasks
As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, memory loss continues and changes in other cognitive abilities appear. Problems can include getting lost in familiar territory, trouble handling money and paying bills, repeating questions, taking longer to complete normal daily tasks, poor judgment, and small mood and personality changes. People often are diagnosed in this stage.
Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease
In this stage, damage occurs in areas of the brain that control language, reasoning, sensory processing, and conscious thought. Memory loss and confusion increase, and people begin to have problems recognizing family and friends. They may be unable to learn new things, carry out tasks that involve multiple steps (such as getting dressed), or cope with new situations. They may have hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia, and may behave impulsively.
If you notice any changes described above, speak to your GP to get a consultation with a neurologist.
February 23, 2010