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Alzheimer’s vs. Normal Memory Loss

Alzheimer’s or Normal Memory Loss

Almost everyone occasionally forgets where they put their car keys, or loses track of an appointment. Many people over the age of 65 experience some form of age-related memory loss, which is a normal part of the aging process. It’s also natural to worry that any memory loss is a more serious condition such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. Luckily there are many signs to help identify the early stages of a brain disease.

If you are worried about your loved one’s forgetfulness and think it is the first sign of Alzheimer’s, it may just be normal aging. He or she may take longer to learn new tasks or won’t remember things as well as they used to. For example, normal aging means occasionally missing a monthly bill payment. However not paying any bills or understanding a monthly budget could be a more serious sign. It can be common for a senior to forget which word to use, but a sign of trouble is if they struggle to have a full conversation.1

Signs of Normal Aging

If you see these symptoms, it’s likely just typical signs of aging:

  • Not being able to recall details of a conversation or event that happened a year ago.
  • Not being able to remember the name of an acquaintance.
  • Forgetting things and events occasionally.
  • Sometimes having difficulty finding the right word.

Tips for Coping with Forgetfulness

There are ways for your loved one to deal with regular age-related memory loss and help maintain brain health.2

  • Keep a routine
  • Keep important information or papers organized
  • Put items in the same spot
  • Repeat information
  • Make word associations to help remember
  • Teach other people how to do things
  • Get a full night’s sleep
  • Learn more about strengthening memory and do brain exercises

How to Know When it’s More Serious

If memory loss is beginning to disrupt your loved one’s life, it could be a sign of a bigger problem and a symptom of Alzheimer’s or dementia. These brain diseases cause a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills. If you see any of these early warning signs of Alzheimer’s, don’t ignore them and contact a doctor right away.

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems.
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or at leisure.
  4. Confusion with time and place.
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.
  6. Problems with words in speaking or writing.
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.
  8. Decreased or poor judgment.
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities.
  10. Changes in mood or personality.

Memory Care at Peabody

If you believe your loved one’s memory problems are more than just age-related forgetfulness, look to the caring staff at Peabody’s Memory Enhancement Center. The homelike design offers the most specialized, attentive and respectful care for your senior with a memory disorder. Contact us to set up a tour of this memory care community and learn more about its life-enhancing services and amenities.


  1. Do Memory Problems Always Mean Alzheimer’s Disease? (Accessed Jan 22 2019).
  2. Normal Aging vs Dementia. (accessed Jan 22 2019)
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