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What’s the Difference Between Forgetfulness and Memory Loss?

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Learn the difference between forgetfulness and memory conditions

We all forget things from time to time, whether it’s missing an appointment or misplacing our keys. As we get older, we might experience mild moments of forgetfulness a little more often. These memory lapses can be frustrating, and they may even make you wonder if you should be worried about a serious cognitive condition like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Most of the time, occasional forgetfulness is a normal part of the aging process, not a cause for concern. Still, it’s important to understand the distinction between normal memory lapses and the warning signs of dementia, so you know when to get help for yourself or a loved one.

Here are some helpful tips on how to tell the difference between normal age-related forgetfulness and memory conditions like dementia.

Signs of normal age-related memory changes:

  • Misplacing items from time to time, like car keys or glasses.
  • “Blanking” on the names of acquaintances or mistakenly mixing up the names of family members.
  • Taking longer to learn new information or skills.
  • Occasionally walking into a room and forgetting why you entered in the first place.
  • Losing focus or becoming easily distracted in conversations.
  • Sometimes having trouble finding the right word to use, even if it’s on the tip of your tongue.

These signs tend to come with age and are considered normal among older adults. They are generally not considered to be warning signs of dementia.

Symptoms that may indicate dementia:

The main difference between age-related forgetfulness and dementia is that the latter impacts one’s daily life activities, hobbies, and relationships. Some common signs may include:

  • Frequent confusion or disorientation about the time or familiar people and places.
  • Not being able to follow instructions or directions.
  • Having trouble holding conversations by forgetting or misusing words, repeating phrases and stories, or asking the same questions over and over.
  • Major changes in personality, such as aggression, impulsiveness, and poor judgment.
  • Difficulty with simple, everyday tasks such as paying bills, taking medication, dressing appropriately, or grooming.

When to get help for memory concerns

When memory lapses become frequent, more noticeable, or impact daily life, consider consulting a doctor. Early diagnosis can help treat memory conditions and slow the rate of cognitive decline.

For older adults diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or another form of dementia who need more care than can be provided at home, moving to an Assisted Living Memory Care community can be a good solution. These communities offer 24/7 memory care and support in a soothing, family-like environment to empower older adults and enhance overall their quality of life. Assisted Living Memory Care also provides peace of mind to families because they know their loved ones will be safe and well cared for at all times.

If you’re wondering if it’s the right time for senior living, either for yourself or an older loved one, find out which options are the best fit with this quick 4-5 minute survey. You’ll receive a personalized Senior Living Fit Report you can use to start conversations and plan for the future.

Learn more about Assisted Living Memory Care

When you’re ready for more information about Assisted Living Memory Care at Bethany Village, please contact us today. We look forward to meeting you and your family and answering your questions.

Written by Bethany Lutheran Village

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