What Is Normal Memory Loss?

There you are again—wondering where you left your car keys or thinking again about the name of the actor in a movie you recently saw. Your memory was so sharp when you were younger, and now it’s failing you. You’re middle-aged, and you’ve seen older family members struggle with memory loss. Could you have dementia?

It’s easy to think that there may be something wrong with you if you can’t remember things as you get older. After all, we see a lot in the news about memory loss or Alzheimer’s disease (Alzheimer’s is one form of dementia). However, the good news is that several signs of memory loss are actually normal as we age. Here are four normal signs of memory loss—and four signs that indicate you should see a doctor.

What’s normal:

1. You can’t remember a certain word or name right away. An article from AARP describes this as several similar memories interfering with each other. As Dr. Debra Badcock says in the article, “We're all accessing the same brain networks to remember things," says Babcock, "but we have to call in the troops to do the work when we get older, while we only have to call in a few soldiers when we're younger." If the word or name comes to you later, it’s no cause for worry.

2. You sometimes have trouble retrieving information from your memory, even for something recent. This could include the name of someone you just met or the name of a movie you watched just yesterday. “Aging changes the strengths of the connections between neurons in the brain. New information can bump out other items from short-term memory unless it is repeated again and again,” according to the AARP article.

3. You forget appointments sometimes but remember them later. This is normal but frustrating, right?! What would be more concerning is if you need to ask friends or family for details over and over again, or you need to lean on them for help with tasks you were once able to do.

4. You forget why you walked into a room. This happens to even those with the sharpest memories and has a lot more to do with distraction than memory.

When to call a doctor about memory loss:

1. You can’t do tasks you were once able to do. For instance, you’ve worked with money all of your life and now you can’t balance a checkbook.

2. You frequently misuse words or garble them, in addition to forgetting words in the moment.

3. You get lost and can’t remember your way in familiar places.

4. You have memory loss that happened suddenly.

Of course, the troubling signs of memory loss may be best spotted by a loved one, as they can be hard to notice on our own. By talking to your doctor about memory loss, you’ll find out if it’s time to get your memory tested or if the memory loss may be related to other things, such as a change in medication or a vitamin deficiency.

Call Secure Aging to Find Out How We Can Help Seniors With Financial Management

At Secure Aging in Bradenton, we transform the weight of the world into a sigh of relief for our senior clients and their concerned family members. The mission of Secure Aging is to protect and preserve our client’s independence and dignity through careful and thoughtful financial and care management. As our clients age, it is their desire to remain independent and age with dignity. Our services protect our clients from talented con artists looking to exploit and deplete the financial resources of our vulnerable seniors. Secure Aging helps families in Manatee County and Sarasota County and in and around the communities of Anna Maria, Bradenton, Bradenton Beach, Ellenton, Holmes Beach, Lakewood Ranch, Longboat Key, Myakka City, Palmetto, Parrish, and Sarasota. Call us at 941-761-9338, or visit us online at www.secureaging.com.

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