Forgetting things occasionally is a part of life. It's why people may have reminders on their smartphones or sticky notes on their refrigerators. As people get older they might experience more frequent instances of memory loss, but this is often a normal part of aging. So how can aging adults tell if they're experiencing the symptoms of dementia? And how do they know when it's time to tell a doctor?
Here are some tips on how to tell normal forgetfulness from dementia:
Normal age-related symptoms:
These problems can be frustrating, but they are not very serious and certainly aren't any cause for alarm. Forgetfulness comes with age. Some typical memory-loss symptoms common in older adults include:
Potential signs of dementia:
Unlike normal age-related forgetfulness, memory loss linked to dementia is progressive, according to Dr. William W. Pendlebury, a professor at the University of Vermont. These issues get steadily worse and the patient eventually has to move to assisted living facilities because he can no longer live on his own.
Age-related memory loss and dementia are very different conditions, though they may share some overlap in symptoms. However, normal forgetfulness is often caused by lack of focus and it never progresses into serious territory. Dementia, on the other hand, will get worse over time. If you're uncertain about your symptoms, schedule an appointment with your doctor.