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Is It Forgetfulness or Dementia? 8 Noteworthy Differences

Is It Forgetfulness or Dementia? 8 Noteworthy Differences

An adult daughter holds hands and comforts her senior mother
February 6, 2024

In the quest for dementia care in Omaha, NE, it’s crucial to understand the distinction between general forgetfulness and early signs of dementia. For communities like Astoria of Omaha, where specialized memory care is at the forefront of our commitment to senior living, recognizing these differences can make a significant impact on the quality of life for our residents. Below, we’ve compiled a list of differences between forgetfulness and general aging compared to red flags that may point to dementia. Continue reading to learn more on this important topic:

#1.) Memory Lapses vs. Consistent Forgetfulness

General forgetfulness often includes occasional memory lapses, such as misplacing keys or forgetting an appointment. In contrast, dementia involves consistent, progressive memory decline. Those in the early stages of dementia may have trouble recalling recent events or important details in their daily life. If you begin to notice this happening in your senior loved one, it is highly encouraged to book an appointment with the primary caregiver. 

#2.) Communication Challenges

We have all been there and struggled to remember a specific term or name. Difficulty finding the right word occasionally is normal and can happen to anyone. However, dementia can lead to significant communication challenges, where residents struggle to express themselves or engage in conversations. For example, you may notice your senior loved one calling household items by the wrong name or using nonsensical terms as replacements for the real thing. 

Here at Astoria of Omaha, we ensure specialized support for those facing these communication barriers. Our compassionate staff is highly trained to help those living with dementia to communicate and meet their needs. Even in the face of these communication challenges, it’s imperative that our residents feel heard and seen.

#3.) Mood Swings vs. Emotional Changes

Everyone has their ups and downs, but persistent mood swings, irritability, or uncharacteristic emotional changes may signal dementia. For example, if you notice that your senior loved one’s behavior can turn volatile seemingly unprovoked, this could be a major red flag. 

As the best dementia care in Omaha, NE, our community emphasizes emotional well-being and provides tailored activities to boost residents’ spirits. We fully understand the various nuances in behavior that can occur with those living with dementia and strive to provide a safe, secure, and welcoming community where seniors can thrive

#4.) Time and Place Confusion

Losing track of the date occasionally is common, but dementia can lead to profound disorientation regarding time and place. This is more than forgetting what day of the week it is. Instead, it can look like confusion about what season or year it is. Someone living with dementia might believe that they are twenty years in the past and forget that they are retired or that their children are grown. These lapses can occur in varying degrees and frequencies and depending on the individual. 

#5.) Personal Care Neglect

General forgetfulness may lead to occasional neglect of personal care, but dementia can result in severe neglect, including forgetting to eat or bathe. When visiting your senior loved one at their home, take note of both their personal hygiene as well as the state of their environment. Have they brushed their teeth and combed their hair? Are their clothes clean? Have they gained or lost a dramatic amount of weight? Is their home disorganized or uncharacteristically messy? Do you notice bills piling up? All of these can be red flags that point toward dementia. 

Here at Astoria of Omaha, we ensure residents receive the care they need to maintain their health and hygiene. Our compassionate staff is there to help residents look and feel their best, as well assist with keeping their space tidy and home-like. 

A staff member at the dementia care in Omaha, NE hugs a senior woman

#6.) Repetitive Behavior

Repeating oneself occasionally is normal, but dementia can manifest in repetitive actions or questions throughout the day. When visiting with your senior loved one, take note of how often they repeat themselves or pose the same questions in a single setting. Any notes you make will be beneficial to share with a primary care physician. 

Our memory care program at the best dementia care in Omaha, NE focuses on tailored activities to minimize repetitive behaviors and enhance engagement. The staff is patient, understanding, and strive to meet our residents where they are. 

#7.) Difficulty with Complex Tasks

Those with general forgetfulness might struggle with complex tasks occasionally, whereas dementia can cause profound difficulties in handling daily activities, including basic financial management. At Astoria of Omaha, we provide support to help residents navigate these challenges.

#8.) Social Withdrawal

While some degree of social withdrawal is common as we age, dementia can lead to isolation and withdrawal from social activities altogether. This withdrawal can compound and lead to other concerning health issues such as an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, depression, anxiety, and more. Our life enrichment programs are designed to engage residents, fostering fellowship and fulfillment in their daily lives. We do our best to help residents feel involved, connected, and to truly make the most of each and every day. 

Tour Our Dementia Care in Omaha, NE

At Astoria of Omaha, we take pride in being a top choice for memory care. Our commitment to specialized memory care ensures that individuals with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia find fulfillment, care, and engagement every day. We offer a secure environment, personalized activities, and a wide range of life-enriching programs that cater to residents’ unique interests and passions.

As the best choice for dementia care in Omaha, NE, we believe in engaging the mind, body, and soul to foster a happier, healthier life. Our life enrichment programs, both onsite and offsite, spark fellowship, fun, and fulfillment. From karaoke and cooking to boating and hiking, we create opportunities for excitement and involvement, tailored to individual preferences. Our List for Living program even helps residents realize their dreams, big and small.

If you’re seeking dementia care in Omaha, NE, and want to learn more about Astoria of Omaha, we invite you to contact us today. Come and take a tour of our community to discover how we are dedicated to enhancing the lives of those with memory loss, offering a safe and vibrant environment where residents can thrive through life. Find joy at Astoria.