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Medical and Dental

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, some of which may be treatable. Learn more about the warning signs or download the 10 Warning Signs worksheet.

Medical Evaluation

The first step in getting help for a memory problem or suspected dementia is to have a thorough medical examination. During an evaluation, treatable conditions that affect memory can be found and treatment can begin immediately. Learn more about how Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed.

Getting a diagnosis early is very important. If there is a suspected dementia, an early diagnosis allows you to learn more about living well with dementia and plan for the future. Learn more about the value of early detection and diagnosis.

"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

Your Medical Evaluation - What to Expect

Years ago, Bob Wellington and his wife, Juanita, faced the question of whether or not to schedule a medical evaluation for dementia. Based on their experience, learn what to expect during the medical evaluation process — and be sure to watch the video of Bob and Juanita sharing insights from their journey.

Facts About Alzheimer’s & Dementia

  • Alzheimer's is a progressive disease. 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 about the stages of Alzheimer's disease.
  • Alzheimer's doesn’t just affect older adults. 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. Learn more about younger-onset Alzheimer’s and how it is diagnosed.
  • You can live well with dementia. You have a choice in how you live your life with Alzheimer's or other dementia. It is possible to live well with Alzheimer's by taking control of your health and wellness and focusing your energy on the aspects of your life you find most meaningful. Learn more about living well with dementia.
  • 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 and/or reduce risks of cognitive decline. Learn more about treatment options and research.
  • Do what you can to keep your brain healthy. There are steps you can take to promote healthy aging and brain health. Learn more about promoting good brain health from the National Institute on Aging, read about 10 Ways to Love Your Brain; and/or connect with the Washington State Department of Health.

Oral Health and Dental Considerations

  • Good oral health is important for overall health and well-being. It is important to improve oral health and reduce the risk of poor oral and dental health for persons with dementia. Maintaining oral health brings benefits in terms of self-esteem, dignity, social integration and nutrition. Poor oral health can lead to pain and tooth loss and can negatively affect self-esteem and the ability to eat, laugh, and smile. Find out more.
  • There is evidence of a potential link between oral health and dementia risk. In newly published research, scientists have uncovered evidence of how bacterial toxins stemming from poor oral hygiene can make their way into the brain and may well contribute to Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.

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.

Concerned about Memory Loss for Yourself or Someone Else?

To review a questionnaire that you might take to your next health care provider visit, click on the “Download Now” link below

Let’s Talk Dementia videos

Brief videos of Washingtonians with dementia and their care partners, sharing how they knew something was amiss and how an early diagnosis has helped them.

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