Tt is natural to wonder about your own memory, and what is 'normal' when it comes to memory loss as a result of aging. Occasional memory lapses, such as forgetting why you walked into a room or having difficulty recalling a person's name, become more common as we approach our 50s and 60s. It's comforting to know that this minor forgetfulness is a normal sign of aging, not a sign of dementia.
But other types of memory loss, such as forgetting appointments or becoming momentarily disoriented in a familiar place, may indicate mild cognitive impairment.
In the most serious form of memory impairment -Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia -- people often find themselves disoriented in time and place and unable to name common objects or recognize once-familiar people.
Here are examples of the types of memory problems common in normal age-related forgetfulness, mild cognitive impairment, and dementia.
If you are concerned about memory loss in yourself or a loved one, there can be a variety of underlying causes too which can be treated, for example, temporary memory loss due to depression, or certain prescription or over the counter medications. You should discuss such concerns with your doctor.
There are a number of tests your doctor can administer right in the office which can help determine whether it is cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's Disease or another form of dementia.