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Forgetfulness is a normal part of aging. Whether it’s misplacing the house keys or not remembering the name of your next door neighbor, memory loss is not uncommon for older adults.
But, there are differences between typical memory loss and early signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Here are a few guidelines that can help you tell the difference between the two.
As stated by the National Institutes on Aging (NIA), some of the early signs of Alzheimer’s are:
While each of the above can happen to most people now and then, you should see a doctor if anything in this list is happening often.
What to expect from the doctor
A checkup for memory loss may include:
As there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, doctors may focus on managing the disease through medications, physical and mental activities and the use of support groups.
Differences between Alzheimer’s disease and normal aging
Often making poor decisions
Making poor decisions once in a while
Problems handling monthly bills
Occasionally forgetting a payment
Losing track of the day or time of year
Forgetting which day it is but remembering it later
Trouble holding a conversation
Sometimes forgetting which word to use
Frequently losing items or putting them in odd locations
Losing items from time to time
A few tips to improve memory
If you’re having trouble with your memory, consider trying some – or all – of the following activities:
Memory loss: It’s not always Alzheimer’s
Problems with memory can have a variety of causes, such as medication side effects, vitamin B12 deficiency, tumors, infections or blood clots in the brain and other reasons. If you are concerned about memory loss, the best course of action is to reach out to your doctor. And if you haven’t had your annual wellness exam, that may be a good place to start.
Originally published 1/16/2017; Revised 2019
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Last Updated 10012018Y0096_WEB_IL_CONNECT19_C