A certain amount of forgetfulness is to be expected as we age, with minor memory lapses considered normal as early as age 50. But at what point does occasional absentmindedness become cause for alarm? These warning signs from the National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer’s Association can help determine if a loved one’s memory issues are age-appropriate or might be an early sign of Alzheimer’s or dementia. If in doubt, be sure to bring your concerns to a doctor’s attention.
Aging: Occasionally forgetting appointments or names, then remembering later.
Dementia: Asking the same questions over and over.
Aging: Missing a monthly payment from time to time.
Dementia: Having trouble managing monthly bills.
Aging: Misplacing keys or glasses, but eventually figuring out where they are.
Dementia: Misplacing items frequently and not being able to retrace steps to find them.
Aging: Occasionally making mistakes or bad decisions.
Dementia: Routinely showing poor judgment, such as making rash money decisions or neglecting personal hygiene or appearance.
Aging: Pausing a moment to remember directions.
Dementia: Getting lost in a familiar place.
Aging: Sometimes struggling to think of a word.
Dementia: Struggling to maintain a conversation.
Aging: Taking longer to learn new skills.
Dementia: Having difficulty following directions or recipes.
Aging: Forgetting which day it is, but remembering later on.
Dementia: Forgetting the month or the time of year.
Aging: Needing help with new technology or tasks.
Dementia: Needing help with familiar things like writing a grocery list or understanding a favorite game.
Aging: Becoming more rigid with routines and more irritable when they are broken.
Dementia: Experiencing mood or personality changes such as confusion, paranoia, anxiety and fearfulness, even in comfortable surroundings.
Contemplating the next chapter in your loved one’s story? Click here to learn more about Bickford Senior Living and to find a branch near you.