We’ve all been there- you forget something that seems so obvious that you should remember and you say to yourself, “I’m getting dementia!” Chances are, you aren’t. Forgetting little things here and there is usually not a big deal and is quite common for seniors. Though, it is important to know if your symptoms are due to natural forgetfulness or dementia.

Natural Forgetfulness

Forgetfulness is a natural and normal part of aging. The learning curve can even be detected between children and people in their 20s. Children have a much easier time learning new things, such as learning a new language, than adults. As you age, you can probably notice that you are more forgetful and not as sharp as you were when you were younger. It is natural to not be as sharp as you age because the brain shrinks in volume. People often wonder if their tendencies are natural forgetfulness or if they are developing dementia. These are some examples of natural forgetfulness:

  • You met someone five minutes ago and already forgot his name
  • You forgot where you put your keys
  • You have difficulty retrieving a specific word that you know that you want to say
  • You hang up the phone and instantly forget what time your daughter said she is coming over
  • You forget if you locked the door when you left the house

Everyone is forgetful here and there. The important thing is to be aware of your symptoms. If you think they are more extreme than normal, you may want to talk to your doctor so that you can handle the situation as quickly and effectively as possible.

Dementia

Dementia is a general term to describe symptoms of impairment in memory, communication, and thinking. There are currently estimated to be over 46 million people worldwide living with dementia. Dementia can be hereditary. It can also be caused by depression, medication side effects, excess use of alcohol, thyroid problems, or vitamin deficiencies. These are some examples of possible dementia symptoms:

  • You forget how to get home from the grocery store
  • You are confused about where you are
  • You have trouble remembering recent events
  • Your concentration is reduced
  • You have sudden difficulty performing regular and routine tasks

If you find yourself more forgetful or confused than normal, it may be a smart idea to talk to your doctor. Early diagnosis improves the quality of life for people with dementia and their families. Dementia cannot be cured, though it can be prevented and treated. There are several effective ways to prevent dementia that you can begin right away.

Ways to Prevent Dementia

Sometimes dementia is hereditary, but often you can take steps to prevent it. It is always important to practice healthy habits such as eating healthy foods, getting plenty of exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight. It is also important to keep your mind sharp and to stay alert. You can keep your mind sharp by trying new hobbies, reading, doing crossword puzzles, or mind-stretching games such as Sudoku and word searches. Our brains undergo myriad changes as we age. There are vitamins that you can take that improve cognitive function such as vitamins B, C, E, and K. The earlier you take action against dementia, the better.