A couple appear concerned as they face the realities of onset dementia

Are You Experiencing Normal Forgetfulness or an Early Sign of Dementia?


Memory loss can strike at any moment. You might be about to leave to visit your grandchildren when, out of nowhere, you can’t seem to remember where you put your car keys. Should you be worried that your forgetfulness is developing into something more serious?

It’s common to lose grasp of some of your memory as you get older. Some symptoms, though, may be an early sign of dementia. How can you distinguish between normal forgetfulness and forgetfulness that can signal dementia?

Read on to learn more about the difference between the two, along with some tips for how to prevent dementia.

What is normal forgetfulness?

Everyone forgets things sometimes, regardless of age. Our brains aren’t perfect, and everyone has made a mistake due to forgetting at some point. It’s normal to experience forgetfulness, especially as you age.

Some signs of normal forgetfulness include:

  • Temporary forgetfulness. If you’ve misplaced your favorite cookbook only to remember you loaned it out to a friend, you’ve experienced temporary forgetfulness. If you’re still able to recall a memory after a brief amount of time, you shouldn’t worry.
  • Forgetting due to stress or fatigue. When under great amounts of stress, your brain isn’t able to process as well as it should. Being overwhelmed or lacking sleep can cause you to be forgetful, but it isn’t necessarily a sign of something worse.
  • Forgetting due to not paying attention. Your mind may be elsewhere when someone is talking or explaining something, and you may have a hard time remembering what was just said. Without your full attention, it’s normal and easy for you to forget what’s going on around you.

What is dementia?

Dementia is a serious condition that can render you unable to remember important details and can impact your normal routines. Unlike normal forgetfulness, dementia is something that should be checked out by a doctor, as it could be a sign of Alzheimer’s or another disease.

You may see early signs of dementia if:

  • You have difficulty completing familiar tasks. If you’re an expert racquetball player, it may be cause for concern if you abruptly forget the basic steps of the game. With dementia, common chores like cooking or cleaning become harder than usual due to being disoriented with the task at hand.
  • Your memory loss disrupts your daily life. Memory loss can be worrisome if you can’t recall your major events or find yourself asking the same questions over and over again. It’s one thing to be forgetful, but once it impacts your life significantly it’s time to investigate what could be causing it.
  • You’re withdrawing from others and activities you enjoy. Being unable to keep up with everything around you can be agitating and may make you want to withdraw from social activities. It can even be difficult to keep up with a favorite TV show. If this is the case, dementia could be on the horizon.

How can I prevent dementia?

There’s no magic formula for how to prevent dementia. A combination of age, genes, environment and a number of other factors will determine whether or not you’ll experience dementia. While we can’t stop it fully in its tracks, there are some steps you can take to limit your risk.

Living a healthy lifestyle is your best defense against dementia. Health issues like high blood pressure or type two diabetes can increase your risk, so it’s important to eat healthy and exercise often. Studies have shown that regular exercise can help increase blood and oxygen flow to the brain, which can decrease your risk of developing dementia.

Make note of habits like drinking or smoking as well. Excessive drinking has been linked to dementia, as well as smoking. Limiting or quitting these habits can keep your brain in its best shape.

Social connections are another way to stimulate your mind and stay sharp as you get older. Playing games or conversing with a friend keep your brain active and can naturally fight off some common memory loss issues.


Are you looking for a community for yourself or a loved one that can help you keep engaged and possibly reduce your risk of dementia? Reach out to Culpepper Place and we can see how assisted living can help you to live a fuller, richer life.

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