How To Tell The Difference Between Normal Forgetfulness And Dementia

It’s completely normal for us to get a bit forgetful as we get older. You might even start noticing it at a fairly young age. So, if you or a loved one has started becoming more forgetful, how can you tell if this is a normal part of aging or warning signs of dementia? Let’s look at some of the differences and warning signs to look out for.

Assessing memory problems

A healthy adult or senior might forget where they’ve put their keys or what time they booked their doctor’s appointment for. Or an appointment might slip their mind completely until they are reminded of it. This is completely normal and we’re all guilty of it from time to time. In most cases, it is nothing to worry about.

Forgetfulness associated with dementia tends to be more extreme than your typical memory problems. Someone with dementia might forget simple words or the names of loved ones they’ve known their whole life, and be unable to recall them even when given time.

Their short-term memory may also be impaired, causing them to forget events that have happened that day or keep asking the same question repeatedly. They may also forget how to perform simple tasks that they should be familiar with, such as using the phone or switching on the TV.

Other signs of dementia

Forgetfulness is not the only symptom of dementia, so looking out for other warning signs could help you distinguish between this condition and simple forgetfulness. Here are a few early signs to look out for:

  • Difficulty planning and making decisions
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Changes in mood, behavior, and personality
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty keeping up with conversations

When to call the doctor

If you or a loved one is becoming more forgetful and you also notice some of the other symptoms listed above, then you should book a doctor’s appointment to have the condition checked out. If the symptoms are affecting the person’s everyday life, then they may be a sign of dementia. This page has more information on how to deal with memory problems.

If the condition worsens to a point where they cannot take care of themselves on a day-to-day basis, or if they are at risk of harming themselves when left alone, then assisted living or memory care may be needed. Contact Brookstone of Clemmons to find out how our assisted living care can help support your loved one.

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