9 Common Alzheimer’s Myths

How do we know if mom or dad has Alzheimer’s or not? Are we in denial about symptoms, or do we think any memory loss is a sign of dementia? Caring.com offers a list of common myths that all of us with aging parents or grandparents can relate to as we watch our loved ones age.

9 Common Alzheimer’s Myths
Dementia is not a normal part of aging

Myth 1: “Mom can’t have Alzheimer’s — she remembers all kinds of things.”

Alzheimer’s disease affects newly learned information or recent memories first. Memories of the more distant past — including arcane details such as names and places — may endure for some time. The majority of longer-held memories don’t typically erode noticeably until the middle stage of the disease. That’s why someone recently diagnosed can often recall things in the past quite well.

In addition, an Alzheimer’s patient has good days and bad days, sometimes appearing to improve or to function in a “back to normal” way for short periods. Sufferers also tend to retain basic social skills during the early stages of the disease — including the ability to “rise to the occasion” by doing their best to cover up potentially embarrassing or disruptive signs of the disease, like disorientation or memory loss.

Myth 2: “If you live long enough, you’ll get Alzheimer’s.”

Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia aren’t an inevitable part of aging. True, almost everyone forgets things occasionally from middle age on. But not everyone develops a brain disorder that affects cognition (thinking ability), including memory, judgment, and eventually personality and behavior — which is what Alzheimer’s is. Millions of people reach their 70s, 80s, and even 90s with good memories and relatively little decline in mental abilities.

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