Is it normal aging or dementia? Free workshop will explain

“Normal Aging vs. Dementia,” a free online workshop hosted in March by Pierce County and Aging and Disability Resources, aims to help people understand the signs and symptoms of normal aging compared to indicators of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Organizers of the workshop, which is also available by phone, said being alert to the signs and what they mean can be instrumental in knowing what course of action to take, as well as providing peace of mind.

The presentation will be held twice:

  • March 18 at 6:30 p.m. Register online at Join by phone at 253-215-8782 or 888-788-0099. Webinar ID: 972 3158 3215.
  • March 20 at 9:30 a.m. Register online at Join by phone at 253-215-8782 or 888-788-0099. Webinar ID: 967 1614 1733

Advance registration is also available at 253-798-4600.

“Dementia is not a normal part of aging,” said Aaron Van Valkenburg, manager of county government’s Aging and Disability Resources. “Those awkward moments when we can’t remember a word or put a name to a face can be disconcerting. With the growth in the number of people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, it’s easy to be prematurely worried.”

Slight changes in cognitive skills are considered a normal part of the aging process. Many thinking abilities appear to peak around age 30 and, on average, very subtly decline with age. Mild changes in cognition are considered a normal part of the aging process.  On the other hand, dementia, the all-embracing term that includes Alzheimer’s, is a deterioration in memory, thinking, behavior, and the ability to perform everyday activities.

Research suggests there are important things people can do every day to maintain brain health. The combination of good nutrition, physical activity, and mental and social engagement may provide the most benefits. Nevertheless, knowing the signs and symptoms are essential, van Valkenburg said.

“Healthy Aging vs. Dementia” will be presented by the Dementia Services program of Lutheran Community Services Northwest.