Forgetting things occasionally is a part of life. Regardless of age, we’ve all had incidences of forgetfulness in our daily life. More often than not, we attribute these to harmless occasions of absent-mindedness. Unfortunately, not all occasions of forgetfulness are the same. The purpose of this article if to help understand the difference between normal age-related memory decline and dementia.

Is forgetfulness a normal part of the ageing process? There have been numerous studies that have attempted to answer the question of whether forgetfulness is a normal effect of ageing. Although the debate is still on-going, most studies seem to agree that forgetfulness manifests in more than 40% of adults over the age of 60 years and it does not seem to progress in a linear fashion. This suggests that some forms or forgetfulness is more like a form of dementia and should not be considered as part of the ageing process. So how can one tell if their experiencing the symptoms of dementia and how do they determine if its time to seek medical attention?

Normal age-related forgetfulness:
There are several forms of forgetfulness that are typical of the aging process. Although these symptoms can often be very frustrating, they are typically harmless and should not be cause for alarm. Age-related memory loss often causes a person to experience difficulties with memory, but: · These symptoms don’t disrupt their daily lives in a significant form;· They don’t render a person unable to complete tasks that they are typically able to do;· Still able to learn and retain new information;· Absence of an underlying medical condition that’s causing memory related symptoms. In the case of a person with memory issues in which the above are true, it is most like that the person is experiencing a degree of age-related memory decline. It would be unlikely that these are manifestations of dementia.

Signs of dementia:
Unlike normal age-related forgetfulness, the memory decline seen in dementia is markedly progressive in nature. These symptoms tend to get steadily worse over time and in many cases, will eventually lead to the need for more specialised care as it worsens. The memory loss in dementia is more severe to the point where: · It affects the individual’s daily activity rituals to the point he’s unable to stick to a usual routine;· Becomes increasingly difficult to learn new things;· Becomes difficult to complete tasks that were previously easy to perform independently;· Family and friends begin to notice changes in memory capabilities. When these characteristics begin to manifest, it is more likely that the person is exhibiting symptoms of early stages of dementia. If you notice these symptoms, its time to seek out medical attention in order to properly diagnose the condition.

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