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Memory loss or dementia is not a normal part of aging.

Many people have memory loss issues – this does not mean they have Alzheimer’s or another dementia. There are many different causes of memory loss. The first step in getting help for a memory problem or suspected dementia is to have a thorough medical evaluation. Treatable conditions that affect memory can be found during such evaluations, and if such a condition is identified, treatment can begin immediately. If there is a suspected dementia, then future planning can take place.

If we could have had a correct diagnosis even two years earlier, it would have given us more time to plan, to do the things that can result in a good quality of life and to accomplish things we always wanted to do that got put off for this reason or that.

- Jay Smith, husband of Patty, diagnosed 2 years after onset of symptoms

Younger-onset (also known as early-onset) Alzheimer's affects people younger than age 65. Up to 5 percent of the more than 5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s have younger-onset.

Alzheimer's Disease worsens over time. Alzheimer's is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer's, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment. Learn more: 10 Warning Signs and Stages of Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's has no current cure. But treatments can help, and research continues. Current Alzheimer's treatments cannot stop the disease from getting worse. But they can slow dementia’s symptoms for a while and improve quality of life for both those with Alzheimer's and their caregivers. Researchers around the world are now seeking better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset and prevent it.

Washington’s Community Living Connections staff are available to help you explore your options to meet your current needs or create a plan for the future.

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