When we age, moments where we temporarily forget something are common. Forgetting something could be a natural part of aging, but it could also be a symptom of dementia. It can be tricky to tell the difference. Dementia can rear its head as early as the 40s, although it also appears later in life. It can be worrying for many when they start to forget things. Here are the differences between normal forgetfulness vs. dementia.
- You Can Recall What You Have Forgotten at a Later Time
Forgetting your keys occasionally is normal. With regular forgetfulness, you can usually recall what you have forgotten in a short while. What distinguishes dementia is the complete inability to recall misplaced information.
- Occasional Forgetfulness
If you’re having trouble recalling the name of someone you’ve just met, it’s usually not a big deal. You’ll typically be able to retain the information after being reminded a couple of times. If you are unable to do this, it could be a symptom of dementia. When someone forgets information that has been repeatedly communicated to them, it might be a sign of dementia in its early stages.
- You Can Remember with the Aid of Tools
Having to rely on reminders such as cell phone apps or notes isn’t something to worry about. These regular reminders can help us stay organized in our busy lives. People with dementia will not find these small reminders helpful enough, and can sometimes even forget what they are referring to.
- Being Able to Take Care of Yourself
If you can still find a way to take care of yourself after an intense day, you’re likely just experiencing normal forgetfulness. Being able to set aside time to execute the necessary part of your daily routine shows that you still have a handle on things. If you are unable to maintain hygiene standards or find yourself missing meals, this could be both a sign of dementia and a warning that you might have Alzheimer’s.
Signs of Dementia
- Inability to Recall Previous Episodes of Memory Loss
It’s one thing to temporarily forget something and then recall it. If you are unable to recall incidents where your memory loss has affected you, it could point to something more troubling.
- Difficulty in Familiar Settings
If you’re finding it difficult to navigate a setting that should be familiar to you, this could be a sign of dementia. Getting lost somewhere new is normal; getting lost at home is not.
- Poor Judgment
If you find that your judgment has been compromised to the extent where daily living becomes dangerous, it may be time to seek help. Things like forgetting to put on a coat when heading out in winter, or forgetting if you’ve turned the gas off, can have dire consequences.
Dealing with Dementia
Dementia can be a daunting diagnosis. But neither you nor your loved ones have to weather it alone. Rittenhouse Village At Portage offers the SHINE® Memory Care program, which offers a personalized and compassionate approach to memory care. For dedicated caregivers who might need some temporary help with caring for their loved ones, our Respite Care program can also be helpful.