Is it Normal Forgetfullness….Or is it Dementia? Act Now Foundation

Is it Normal Forgetfulness…Or is it Dementia? Act Now Foundation

Do you know someone who lives with dementia?

If so, it’s likely at some point their cognitive health has made you concerned for your own. You forget an old friend’s birthday….you can’t find your car keys again. You forget the very item you went to the grocery store to buy. Do you wonder if there is something seriously wrong with you? When is forgetting part of the normal course of life? When does forgetting become a reason to worry? How can we tell the difference?

Here are seven ways to look at normal, age related memory changes versus signs of Impaired cognitive health. Nothing below is intended to diagnose but rather to help guide your understanding of the difference between normal (but aging) memory and dementia.

  1. Do reminders work? We all forget names, dates and items on our ‘to do’ list. However, can you be reminded successfully? If being prompted with facts reconnects you to them, your forgetfulness is probably part of normal aging. If reminders do not work and you are still unable to recall with a reminder, this can be a sign of dementia.
  2. Can Memories be recalled? Are you able to recall events or information, including with reminders, to stir your memory? Recall takes longer as we age but a normal brain should be able to remember eventually. If so, this is likely normal aging. If all the reminders in the world will not help you recall, then this can be a sign of dementia.
  3. Do memory tools work? Few people can remember all the phone numbers they need. This is why we have telephone books and contact lists. If you can successfully use a memory tool like a phone  (or calendar, internet search, etc), then your forgetfulness is presumably aging. If memory tools can no longer be used successfully, this can be a sign of dementia.
  4. Is there a repetition of forgetfulness? You have been reminded of someone’s name and with normal  memory, you have better recall next time you need this information. However, if the same reminder must be repeated again and again, this can be a sign of dementia.
  5. Is there a stable personality? It certainly is frustrating to have to work to recall information. Despite that, with normal aging, your personality is generally stable and recognizable. If you’ve had a short fuse or always stayed calm, it is probable you will continue to do so. If there are personally changes–loud, hot anger in someone who has always been mild mannered, for example–coupled with any of the concerns above, this can be a sign of dementia.
  6. Are habits and tasks performed? Can you perform customary daily tasks and meet your basic needs in bathing, dressing, eating, paying bills and health care? If yes, (even though you might have trouble bending or reaching due to arthritis or other medical issues), then likely you are aging normally. If daily tasks and activities you used to do have now become impossible, this can be a sign of dementia.
  7. Reaction to stress or fatigue? It is common for you memory to struggle when you are highly stressed or fatigued. However, you generally do not forget your nearest and dearest and other familiar information. If stress and fatigue cause out of proportion dysfunction mentally, physically and/or emotionally, this could be a sign of dementia.


It can be easy to explain away unusual behavior, especially for someone who seems physically healthy. Instead, seek a diagnosis as early as possible.

Three things you should know about Dementia:

‘Dementia’ and ‘Alzheimer’s’ are not interchangeable  terms. Dementia is an umbrella term for a condition involving cognitive impairment. There are many types of dementia, each with its own pattern of disability and ability and course of development. Alzheimer’s is the most frequently diagnosed type of dementia but all Dementia is not Alzheimer’s.

Dementia is not normal aging. Dementia is not an inevitable outcome of aging, though risks for dementia do rise with age. Dementia is a result of impaired brain function.

Dementia causes loss of abilities in many spheres, not just memory. Each type of dementia (and each person who has dementia) varies but as a generality, losses include motor abilities, language use, self-care, orientation, decision-making, problem-solving, immune function, continence, emotional control and more.

Act Now Foundation

830 Bergen Avenue, Suite 8A

Jersey City, NJ  07306

(201) 721-6721

Disclaimer: this information came form the Act Now Foundation: Alzheimer’s pamphlet. I have never used the Foundation so I have no opinion of it either yes or no. Please call the Foundation at the above number for more information.


About jwatrel

I am a free-lance writer and Blogger. I am the author of the book "Firehouse 101" ( 2005) part of trilogy of books centered in New York City. My next book "Love Triangles" is finished being edited and should be ready for release in the Fall. My latest book, "Dinner at Midnight", a thriller is on its last chapter. My long awaited book explains the loss of the 2004 Yankee game to Boston. I work as a Consultant, Adjunct College Professor, Volunteer Fireman and Ambulance member and Blogger. I have a blog site for caregivers called 'bergencountycaregiver', a step by step survival guide to all you wonderful folks taking care of your loved ones, a walking project to walk every block, both sides, of the island of Manhattan "MywalkinManhattan" and discuss what I see and find on the streets of New York and three sites to accompany it. One is an arts site called "Visiting a Museum", where I showcase small museums, historical sites and parks that are off the beaten track both in Manhattan and outside the city to cross reference with "MywalkinManhattan" blog site. Another is "DiningonaShoeStringNYC", featuring small restaurants I have found on my travels in this project, that offer wonderful meals for $10.00 and under. So be on the lookout for updates on all three sites and enjoy 'MywalkinManhattan'. The third is my latest site, "LittleShoponMainStreet", which showcases all the unique and independent shops that I have found on my travels throughout and around Manhattan. I have started two new blog sites for the fire department, one "EngineOneHasbrouck HeightsFireDepartmentnj" for the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department to discuss what our Engine Company is doing and the other is "BergenCountyFireman'sHomeAssociation" for the Bergen County Fireman's Association, which fire fighters from Bergen County, NJ, go to the Fireman's Home in Boonton, NJ to bring entertainment and cheer to our fellow brother fire fighters quarterly.
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1 Response to Is it Normal Forgetfullness….Or is it Dementia? Act Now Foundation

  1. jwatrel says:

    Please call the Act Now Foundation for more information.

    Liked by 1 person

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