Forgetfulness is common for many of us. Forgetting where we put our keys, running through the list of grandkids\u2019 names until landing on the right one. These are normal parts of aging \u2014 or of just having many decades of information inside our heads.\nHowever, memory loss that gets worse and begins to affect your daily life is a sign of a much more severe problem. Family and friends are usually the first ones to notice any major changes in memory or thinking.\nDementia is a condition that worsens over time, causing severe cognitive decline in older adults. As a result, patients may find it difficult to perform basic everyday tasks. Eventually, someone suffering from dementia will need constant care. This leads to tough decisions for family members and caregivers.\nTypes of Dementia\nDementia is a decline in thinking and cognitive skills that becomes more likely as people age. Alzheimer\u2019s disease is the most common form of dementia. Vascular dementia, caused by stroke or brain injury, is the second most common form.\nSometimes, older adults have what\u2019s called mild cognitive impairment. This is memory loss that\u2019s more severe than typical aging, but doesn\u2019t interfere too much with daily life. People with mild cognitive impairment are often aware that they have memory loss. This may be a sign of early dementia and does increase the risk for developing dementia. However, it does not mean someone will progress to dementia.\nHow Is Dementia Diagnosed?\nLook for warning signs of the condition to know whether to visit the doctor or realize when you need to take a loved one to the doctor. The earlier dementia is diagnosed, the sooner treatment and planning for the future can begin.\n\nStruggles to remember recent events\nTrouble reacting to problems and showing good judgment\nDifficulty finding their way around familiar places\nTrouble finding the right words to express emotions\nWithdrawing, acting irritable\n\nA physician diagnoses dementia by doing a physical exam, asking about recent and past events then verifying answers with a close family member. They will also perform\u00a0basic memory and mental health tests.\nSometimes the cause can be treated, so your doctor may do tests to look for an infection or for a tumor or brain injury. Falls can cause a head injury that can lead to symptoms of dementia.\nDementia Treatment\nDementia will worsen over time, and there\u2019s no cure for the problem. Some medications are available that can slow the progression.\nIt\u2019s important for family to help someone with dementia be safe at home and be prepared to seek additional help as the condition gets worse. Palliative care specialists are an excellent resource for individuals and caregivers. They can provide symptom and pain management, as well as additional support services for all the parties involved. Bringing in these experts early is the best way for everyone to feel prepared for what\u2019s to come.