Normal aging vs dementia
Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are not a part of normal aging.
Almost 40 per cent of people over the age of 65 experience some form of memory loss. When there is no underlying medical condition causing this memory loss, it is known as "age-associated memory impairment," which is considered a part of the normal aging process.
But brain diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are different.
Age-associated memory impairment and dementia can be told apart in a number of ways. In general, a memory problem may become a concern if it begins to affect your day-to-day living. Most older adults do not go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia.
Below are some examples of age-associated memory impairment and memory loss that may be related to a dementia.
Note: this is not a diagnostic tool.
|Not being able to remember details of a conversation or event that took place a year ago
||Not being able to recall details of recent events or conversations
|Not being able to remember the name of an acquaintance
||Not recognizing or knowing the names of family members
|Forgetting things and events occasionally
||Forgetting things or events more frequently
|Occasionally have difficulty finding words
||Frequent pauses and substitutions when finding words
|You are worried about your memory but your relatives are not
||Your relatives are worried about your memory, but you are not aware of any problems
If you are worried about your memory, talk to your family doctor. He or she may be able to rule out other causes for memory loss.
If you have found that you do have some normal age-related memory problems, there are strategies that can improve your brain health and may strengthen you memory abilities. Learn more about brain health...
Other suggestions for coping with normal age-related memory difficulties include:
- Keep a routine.
- Organize information (keep details in a calendar or day planner).
- Put items in the same spot (always put your keys in the same place by the door).
- Repeat information (example, repeat names when you meet people).
- Run through the alphabet in your head to help you remember a word.
- Make associations (relate new information to things you already know).
- Involve your senses (if you are a visual learner, visualize an item).
- Teach or retell stories to other people.
- Get plenty of rest each night.
Last Updated: 01/23/12