• Alzheimer’s & dementia

Memory Loss: Forgetfulness or a Cognitive Problem?

When does memory loss become symptomatic of a more serious cognitive problem like Alzheimer’s or dementia? Read our guide to find out.

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Memory Loss: Forgetfulness or a Sign of a Cognitive Problem?

We have all forgotten a name, or a phone number, maybe even an appointment. Many of us experience this frequently in daily life and never think twice, but how do you know if what you are experiencing is something more serious?

Understanding the difference between forgetfulness and mild cognitive impairment can be very important for identifying real issues with cognitive functioning. Mild forgetfulness is just that, forgetfulness. As you age you may find yourself having a hard time learning new things, remembering certain words, and even forgetting some daily tasks. These are signs of mild forgetfulness, not a serious memory problem.

You can do many things to keep your memory sharp. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Learn a new skill. This is a great way for older adults to improve brain function.
  2. Use memory tools such as calendars, to-do lists, and notes.
  3. Get lots of rest.
  4. Avoid alcohol. Alcohol abuse can make memory issues worse.
  5. Volunteer in your community, school or another community organization.

Do I have Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia?

Serious memory problems can make it hard to complete daily tasks. You may begin to find it hard to drive, shop, or talk with friends and family members. Signs of a possible serious memory problem like Alzheimer’s or dementia include:

  1. Not being able to follow directions
  2. Getting lost in places you know
  3. Becoming confused about people, place, and time
  4. Asking the same questions
  5. Failing to care for yourself.

If you have these symptoms contact your doctor to discuss the problems. Once you know the cause of your serious memory issue you can get the right treatment.