Lost My Keys Again — Alzheimer’s or Normal Aging?
Find out what are likely simply memory lapses that are a normal part of aging and when forgetfulness is potentially an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease.
You forget someone’s name. You lose your keys. You struggle to think of a common word.
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It’s upsetting but we all forget things more often as we get older. So how can you tell if your little memory lapses are a normal part of aging or an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease?
Experts say forgetfulness is worth looking into when it affects your day-to-day life. That’s when you want to see a doctor.
“We want to take a closer look at people when they are having difficulty handling daily life as easily as they did before,” says neurologist Jagan Pillai, MD, PhD. “Trouble managing medications, or their shopping list, paying bills, dressing yourself, making meals and attending to hygiene could reflect changes in the brain,” he says.
Sometimes people put off looking into problems, but it is important to check into it early to see if the cause is reversible or not – especially because forgetfulness does not always mean Alzheimer’s disease.
“If you notice consistent difficulties over six months, and it is affecting your quality of life, it is good to have it checked,” says Dr. Pillai.
As most people age, they can find strategies to cope with changes in their thinking. Their ability to handle their life independently is seldom affected by normal changes unless they also have physical frailties.
The changes listed below can be a normal sign of aging or they can be symptoms of changes in your brain, including Alzheimer’s. Report any of these to your doctor, especially if you have more than one of these symptoms and the problem doesn’t go away over time:
Safety is paramount if a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, so the earlier a diagnosis is made, the better. But not all forgetfulness is Alzheimer’s disease. That’s why it’s important to talk to your doctor about any of these symptoms if they persist.