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The Difference Between Normal Forgetfulness and Dementia

November 9, 2015

Being a little forgetful is normal, that is why we write notes and remind ourselves about important events or things to do. Aging also causes memory loss a little more frequently. The question is, “When is being forgetful a more serious sign and cause for concern?”


There are many normal age-related problems with memory for seniors. Typical symptoms include absentmindedness and transience. Transience is when the brain forgets something over time. Scientists have thought that this may be a good thing because your brain is making room for new information and discarding the old. Forgetting an appointment might happen because you are preoccupied with something else and does not mean you have dementia. Forgetfulness can also happen due to mental issues. Severe depression and anxiety can cause symptoms of dementia. Worrying and obsessing can lead to forgetfulness as well.


Memory loss linked to dementia is progressive and will eventually get worse until the patient can no longer live on his or her own. Dementia is going beyond forgetting an appointment or keys, but involves forgetting names of loved ones and friends and also forgetting some words. Personality change is a major sign of dementia. Behavior could become aggressive, impulsive or even paranoid. Often, this is when caregivers need additional help to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Becoming disoriented in new environments is another symptom of dementia. Patients can feel unfamiliar with a location and time of day. This can cause insecurity and make the adult become aggravated and angry. The most important thing is to schedule an appointment with your doctor to address these issues.


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