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Normal Aging vs Dementia

normal aging vs dementia

Photo of elderly woman tells a story for the doctor

Many people over the age of 65 experience some type of memory loss not related to Dementia. Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are not a part of normal aging.


If you don’t have an underlying medical condition like dementia causing this memory loss, it is known as “Age-Associated Memory Impairment”. This is considered a normal part of the aging process and a form of dementia. Brain diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are different. Age-associated memory impairment and dementia can be told apart in a number of ways. Dementia is a disease that must be diagnosed by a medical professional.

It is important to consult a medical professional for a proper diagnosis.


     Normal Aging      Dementia
  • Not being able to remember details of a conversation or event that took place a year ago
  • Not being able to recall details of recent events or conversations
  • Not being able to remember the name of an acquaintance
  • Not recognizing or knowing the names of family members
  • Forgetting things and events occasionally
  • Forgetting things or events more frequently
  • Occasionally have difficulty finding words
  • Frequent pauses and substitutions when finding words
  • You are worried about your memory but your relatives are not
  • Your relatives are worried about your memory, but you are not aware of any problems


If you are worried about your memory, talk to your family doctor. Your family Doctor or a Geriatrician would be able to test you. Is it Dementia or Normal Aging? See your doctor about memory concerns; it’s important to know that forgetting someone’s name doesn’t necessarily mean that you are getting dementia.


Tips for coping with normal age-related memory difficulties:

  • Keep a daily routine and organize your information in a calendar or day planner
  • Put important items in the same spot; eg: put your keys in the same place by the door
  • Repeat information; eg: repeat the person’s name when you meet them
  • Run through the alphabet in your head to help you remember a word
  • Educate yourself on what you can do to strengthen yourmemory and maintain a healthy brain
  • Involve your senses; eg: if you’re a visual learner, visualize an item
  • Maintain a healthy well balanced diet
  • Get a full night’s sleep
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