Forgetfulness is common amongst every age group. Nearly everyone has experienced walking into a room, then forgetting what they came in there for.
As we age, forgetfulness can become more frequent, and some seniors can begin to experience age-related memory loss. But how do you know when it's more than memory loss? Discover the difference between memory loss and signs of dementia or Alzheimer's.
The CDC defines dementia as the impaired ability to remember, think or make decisions that interferes with doing everyday activities. Dementia is not a specific disease but a more general term. Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia. Alzheimer's typically affects the part of the brain associated with learning, so early symptoms often include changes in memory.
There are seven stages of dementia. The first is no cognitive impairment, and stage seven is severe cognitive decline. Although the signs vary, symptoms of the early stages of dementia include memory problems, confusion, reduced concentration, behavior changes, and social withdrawal. Many worry that when memory problems start, that this is an early symptom of dementia. However, memory loss is most commonly due to a lack of focus and is referred to as "unusual forgetfulness." Seniors who experience age-related memory loss may be unable to remember past events. While those experiencing memory loss as an early symptom of dementia typically forget recent conversations or events.
Finally, while age-related memory loss is normal with seniors, progression can be a sign of something more serious. For example, if memory loss begins to disrupt daily life or there's confusion around place or time, these can be signs of dementia. Additionally, it may be time to talk with your doctor if it becomes challenging to solve problems or complete familiar tasks.
Keep in mind that memory loss is not a clear sign of dementia. It's important not to jump to this conclusion over forgetfulness- just be vigilant of the differences and signs.