(Stephanie Tremblay/ The Conversation) — A 65-year-old woman repeatedly seeks medical help for her failing memory. She is first told it’s nothing to worry about, then, a year later, that it’s “just normal aging.” Until finally, the penny drops: “It’s Alzheimer’s. There is no cure.”
Scenarios like this one are too common.
Dementia remains largely underdetected, even in high-income countries such as Canada where rates of undetected cases exceed 60 per cent. Beliefs that cognitive deficits are normal in elderly people, and the lack of knowledge of dementia symptoms and of diagnostic criteria amongst medical doctors have been identified as the main culprits of missed cases and delayed diagnosis.
Age-related memory losses should not be shaken off as just part of normal aging. Occasionally forgetting where we parked the car or where we left our keys can happen to everyone, but when these situations become frequent it’s important to seek medical advice. (…)