When are the effects of aging considered to be dementia?

The formal definition of dementia requires not only memory loss, but other signs of cognitive decline such as:

  • Inability to express or understand language (aphasia)
  • Inability to carry out specific skilled motor actions (apraxia)
  • Impairment in visual or auditory perception (agnosia)

Common definitions of dementia require that these cognitive changes interfere sufficiently with social or occupational functioning, be sustained, and a change from one’s base cognitive level.

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