As we grow older, we may start to experience what some call “aging moments” where we become temporarily forgetful or absent-minded. Sometimes, this is a normal part of aging, but it could also be a telltale symptom of memory-related conditions like dementia, which may require additional assistance for daily functions. The differences between normal forgetfulness and dementia can be hard to distinguish as they share the same similar symptoms of momentarily forgetting things. Here are some ways to determine if what you or your loved ones are experiencing is normal forgetfulness or dementia.
You Eventually Remember What You Forgot
Sometimes you might forget little things like where you put your keys or the street name of your favorite store. This is nothing to be concerned about if you end up remembering the information later. The ability to recall the forgotten information points to typical forgetfulness as dementia completely prevents the individual from remembering misplaced information.
You Remember when Aided with Tools
Occasionally forgetting to take your medications if you do not use a phone reminder or written notes is normal. The use of such reminder tools to trigger behaviors is likely just regular forgetfulness, as opposed to people with dementia who may not remember what the reminders are for.
You Forget Things on Occasion
If you realize that you’d just forgotten the name of a person you’d just met, fear not. This is a common occurrence and their name would likely become easier to recall after a few reminders. However, if you still cannot seem to remember their name despite repeated reminders, it may point to the early stages of dementia.
You are Able to Care of Yourself
Even if you had a busy day and ended up forgetting more things than you can count on one hand, if you can still wind down with a nice bath or meal at the end of the day, it is likely that you were just experiencing normal forgetfulness. However, if your hygiene starts to rapidly deteriorate due to forgetfulness, it may be due to dementia.
Simple Tasks Become Challenging
If you begin to forget things like paying bills, eating meals attending appointments, or carrying out hygiene routines like brushing your teeth, it could be a sign of dementia.
Problems Even with Familiar Settings
Although it is normal to get lost when visiting a new place, if you start to forget how to traverse a route that should be familiar such as finding your way home from the grocery store, it may be signs of dementia.
Inability to Recall Information at All
Remembering what you had forgotten 5 minutes ago is a sign of regular forgetfulness but if you cannot recall times when you have had memory loss, it is likely a sign of dementia.
If forgetfulness is extreme enough to impede health and safety, such as leaving cooking unattended or forgetting a jacket during the winter, there is a likelihood that these symptoms are that of dementia.
Constantly Forgetting Words
Whilst it is normal to occasionally forget particular words on the tip of the tongue, regularly forgetting common words, crucial information, or slurring words mid-sentence is more concerning and often a sign of dementia.