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Forgetfulness: Normal or Not?


Many people worry about becoming forgetful as they age. They think it is the first sign of Alzheimer’s disease. But some forgetfulness can be a normal part of aging.

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Forgetfulness: Normal or Not? Infographic. Full transcript below.

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Forgetfulness: Normal or Not?

Many people can become more forgetful as they age. How can you tell the difference between mild forgetfulness and serious memory problems like Alzheimer's disease? See what's typical and what's not:

  • Normal aging
    • Making a bad decision once in a while
    • Missing a monthly payment
    • Forgetting which day it is and remembering later
    • Sometimes forgetting which word to use
    • Losing things from time to time
  • Alzheimer's disease
    • Making poor judgments and decisions a lot of the time
    • Problems taking care of monthly bills
    • Losing track of the date or time of year
    • Trouble having a conversation
    • Misplacing things often and being unable to find them

Although some forgetfulness comes with age, don't ignore changes in memory or thinking that concern you. Talk with your doctor if you notice you have more serious memory problems than normal.

Learn more about forgetfulness and memory loss.

An official website of the National Institutes of Health