Everyone has forgotten someone’s name, misplaced something or walked into a room and forgot why they went there. As we grow older, it is common for people to worry that forgetfulness may indicate the beginning of a serious cognitive problem. While memory lapses can be frustrating, it is important to understand that age related memory loss is not the same thing as dementia.
Normal age related forgetfulness can include:
- Occasionally forgetting where you left something like your keys or glasses.
- Forgetting names of acquaintances.
- Occasionally forgetting an appointment.
- Forgetting on occasion why you went into a room.
- Being unable to recall information that is “right on the tip of your tongue.”
These age-related memory “challenges” have little impact on your ability to function each day. Dementia however, is marked by a persistent and disabling decline of your mental function. Symptoms of dementia may include:
- Difficulty performing simple tasks, like paying bills, dressing, washing up, etc.
- Getting lost or disoriented in familiar places.
- Unable to follow directions.
- Frequently forgetting words or misusing words.
- Repeating stories in the same conversation.
- Trouble making decisions.
- Poor judgment.
If you or a loved one has started to show signs of possible mental decline, don’t ignore it. There can be many contributing factors and it’s important to address possible causes and treatment options as soon as possible. Also, make sure your legal affairs are in order. An experienced elder law attorney can help you make sure you or your loved one is protected.