Your golden years can be a wonderful, relaxing time of your life. However, many seniors face a frequent frustration: forgetfulness. While it is extremely common amongst seniors, forgetfulness can be a source of worry. Between failing to remember the names of acquaintances and losing track of car keys, it can be hard to know when to worry about forgetfulness. The key is to understand the difference between normal forgetfulness and early signs of dementia.
When to Worry About Forgetfulness
Age-Associated Memory Impairment
Where are my car keys? What is my new friend’s last name? Is my next dentist appointment in April or May? If you’re a senior who is having trouble remembering everyday details, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with Age-Associated Memory Impairment (AAMI). AAMI is a normal part of aging that usually affects people as they approach mid-life and head into their senior years. AAMI develops gradually, usually presenting itself with brief memory lapses in otherwise healthy individuals. Although AAMI can be alarming, it’s usually nothing to worry about. Symptoms are typically fairly innocuous:
- Misplacing objects
- Forgetting names
- Struggling to keep track of lists
- Having difficulty performing tasks that require multiple actions
- Finding it harder to remember phone numbers, addresses, and zip codes
- Feeling easily distracted
Although AAMI is very common, it should be monitored for symptoms of more severe age-related memory problems like dementia.
It’s normal to forget small details – a friend’s birthday or what you need at the grocery store, for example. However, after forgetting something, most adults either remember it independently or are successfully reminded. Once reminded, most adults can retrieve the same information fairly easily in the future. However, repeatedly forgetting the same thing – like your address or a loved one’s name – is a symptom of a more severe memory problem.
It’s normal to feel frustrated when you arrive at the grocery store without a list and can’t remember what you need to buy. However, if you or your loved one is experiencing uncharacteristic anger, denial, or other major personality changes as a result of memory loss, it may be an indicator of a bigger problem.
We all get a little forgetful as we age, but our daily routines tend to stay intact. If you or your loved one forgets to perform basic needs like bathing or taking medication, it’s a sign of a greater memory problem. Keep an eye out for weight loss, poor hygiene, or unchanged or dirty clothing, which can be early indicators of Alzheimer’s.
Forgetfulness is a normal part of aging. However, memory conditions like dementia are far more complex than simple forgetfulness, causing the mind to deteriorate over time instead of experiencing occasional memory lapses. If you’re not sure when to worry about forgetfulness, consider consulting a doctor or an experienced senior living professional.
Are you looking for a community that provides a positive, healthy atmosphere where you can live out your golden years? The Shores of Lake Phalen is an assisted living community in a quiet, peaceful environment in Maplewood, Minnesota. Surrounded by a gorgeous wooded setting between two lakes, our residence offers the accessibility of apartment-style housing with the atmosphere and elegance of a resort. Thanks to our team of dedicated staff members, residents enjoy a carefree lifestyle, without the common worries of running a household. We offer numerous health and safety amenities, fun events and activities, a friendly and accommodating staff, and so much more. Schedule a tour of the community to explore our spacious apartments, elegant dining room, and more. We look forward to hearing from you!