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Age-related forgetfulness or signs of dementia?


By 2050, the number of individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease will increase from 6.5 million today to nearly 13 million nationwide.

There are 150,000 people over 65 in Virginia who have the disease.

Rachel Lawson, Senior Program Manager from the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Richmond Chapter answered some of the common questions they receive about Alzheimer’s and dementia.


What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behavior and is the most common cause of dementia. Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging.

What is the difference between

Alzheimer’s and dementia?

Alzheimer’s is a specific disease where dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. Types of dementia.

What are the warning signs of


The most common early symptom of Alzheimer’s is difficulty remembering newly learned information.

As Alzheimer’s advances through the brain it leads to increasingly severe symptoms, including disorientation, mood and behavior changes. Individuals will become confused about events, time and place.

Some individuals show unfounded suspicions about family, friends and professional caregivers.

In later stages, more serious memory loss and behavior changes in addition to difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking.



How can I reduce my chances of getting Alzheimer’s or dementia?

There is growing evidence to suggest that adopting healthy lifestyle habits may help reduce the risk of cognitive decline including eating a heart healthy diet, exercising regularly, and staying cognitively and socially engaged.

What should I do if I have concerns about memory and thinking for myself or a loved one?

There are lots of things that could be causing these changes, and dementia may or may not be one of them.

The sooner the individual or family member knows what’s causing these problems, the sooner the concerns can be addressed.

Talking to a doctor will enable a proper evaluation and timely diagnosis.

Are there treatments for Alzheimer’s?

In 2023, the FDA approved Leqembi for treatment of mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s and mild Alzheimer’s dementia.

This treatment, while not a cure, slows cognitive decline and can give people with early Alzheimer’s more time to maintain their independence.

The FDA also granted accelerated approval to Aduhelm for the same purpose. Results for a third treatment — donanemab — are expected any day.

Learn more at alz.org or call our 24 hr. Helpline: 800-272-3900.