Back to Resources

Is It Just Memory Loss or Something More?

We all have forgetful moments. We might forget where we left our car keys, leave the grocery list on the counter, or not be able to recall the names of new acquaintances. As we age, these lapses in memory can cause us stress.

It may be difficult to discern when to take instances of memory loss more seriously, as signs of dementia. There are some red flags that make it easier to tell when to get serious about forgetfulness, and it’s important to educate yourself. Early intervention, like obtaining Alzheimer’s or dementia care, can make a significant difference for those affected by memory loss.

It’s crucial to note that age-related memory loss is not the same as dementia. Everyone’s brain changes as they age, and occasionally forgetting an appointment or someone’s name is an ordinary part of life. There’s no need to fear the rare lapse in memory.

The primary difference between age-related memory loss and early warning signs of a more serious medical condition is how much memory loss and whether it impedes a person’s ability to function normally. Forgetting to pick up milk on the way home is a minor inconvenience but forgetting where you live is a much more serious situation.

Signs of Dementia

Symptoms that could indicate dementia include:

  • Forgetting how to do something that is part of your normal routine
  • Inability to follow directions or getting lost in familiar areas
  • Issues recalling words, names, or phrases, making communication difficult
  • The repetition of phrases or stories in the same conversation
  • Being unable to remember or describe serious instances of memory loss
  • Forgetfulness that interferes with hobbies, work, or relationships

Again, the difference between serious cognitive decline and normal memory loss as the result of aging is about the degree of severity. If you or a loved one is forgetting things often enough to cause persistent problems in daily life, it may be time to check in with a medical professional.

Another thing to note is that not all early warning signs of cognitive decline are related to memory. Difficulty making choices, poor judgment, or socially-inappropriate behavior that isn’t an established part of someone’s character can indicate that there’s a problem. Dementia or Alzheimer’s can cause a cognitive decline in organizing one’s thoughts or using abstract thinking, presenting as “odd behavior” and not necessarily as forgetfulness.

Though it can be hard to make the choice to seek care for dementia, early intervention is key. You may be concerned about a loved one but also concerned about how to broach the subject. Most people do report relief after making the choice to seek dementia care for themselves or a family member. Research shows that obtaining dementia care early on, as symptoms first appear, can help slow cognitive decline.

BridgeWater Assisted Living has a team full of specially trained experts that can help you with dementia care in Phoenix, Arizona. If the symptoms of memory loss we’ve listed sound familiar to you, you can chat with an advisor who can help you determine whether your experience is memory loss or something more serious.